Bradley Smith was overjoyed after another outstanding performance at Mugello in which he was in the hunt for victory right until the chequered flag, before claiming a third consecutive podium.

The Briton starred in the wet to qualify on the front row but it was questionable whether he would be able to stick with the leaders in the dry. Those questions were emphatically answered.

Smith even led the race for a brief spell before Marc Marquez fought back. Smith then lost out to Stefan Bradl on the final lap but still came third, just 0.419s off the lead, and was happy that he had managed to keep the two championship protagonists in sight.

“We had the podiums in the wet in the last two races and that gave me great confidence, but we did a great job this weekend to show we are competitive in the dry as well. I got on the front row yesterday and to be honest I wanted to lead Marc and see what happened. But it was awesome to be able to run with Marc and Stefan today. We’ve seen already this season that they are the two strongest riders in Moto2 but I finished right behind them today and kept them under pressure for the whole race. That shows what a huge step I’ve taken in the first eight races but also the amazing job the Tech 3 Racing Team has done.”

Smith was racing a slightly modified Tech 3 machine and although he suffered a slight straight-line deficit to the Suters of Marquez and Bradl, was delighted with its performance.

“I had another modified chassis to try this weekend, so the guys never stop working and we are really reaping the benefits. My Mistral 610 bike worked awesome today and I tried to give myself the best opportunity to win by going to the front a couple of laps from the end. I was just committed because I was losing a bit compared to Marc on the straight, but I didn’t quite have the speed to match them on the last lap. The pace was so hot but I couldn’t quite get them back, despite pushing at my absolute maximum.”

“I want to say a big thanks to my Team again, because without them none of this would’ve been possible. They’ve created an environment for me that I can just go out and race as hard as I can. Three successive podiums is definitely proof of that and now I am looking forward to going to Sachsenring.”