Bradley Smith admitted the Valencian Grand Prix “summed up the final part of the season” after crashing out of a strong position on lap two. The Briton has been short of luck in the final few races with a crash in first practice at Malaysia leaving him with a fractured collarbone.
Smith returned for the season finale but slid out of third place moments after passing Mika Kallio and explained that there was nothing he could've done to keep control of the bike once the rear end stepped out.
“I am really disappointed with the crash because I had a very good first lap. I was aggressive and I had a very good feeling with the bike, even though the conditions were far from ideal. I passed Kallio going into the first corner and was looking to push on when he was quite aggressive at Turn 2. I had a big slide from the front and rear tyres and it was impossible to save it. Today pretty much summed up my luck in the final part of the season and I seem to have been followed by bad luck for a few weeks now. It is a shame that we couldn’t finish the season with some stronger results but we have proved capable of fighting for the top five on a regular basis. Luckily it was quite a slow crash at that part of the track and my shoulder didn’t suffer any damage.”
All in all, Smith has had an impressive rookie season, claiming three podium finishes on his way to seventh in the championship and the 20 year old is already concentrating on improving next year.
“I’ll be testing the new 2012 Mistral 610 machine tomorrow and I’m looking forward to that. We’re confident we have made big improvements with the new bike that will help me fight at the front consistently next season.”
Team Manager Herve Poncharal sympathised with Smith given the difficult conditions facing the riders during the race, and praised the youngster for a positive debut year in the intermediate class.
“That was a very hard race for everybody with the conditions being very difficult. At times it was like riding on ice because this track is quite slippery anyway, and the rain made it even harder to understand grip levels. Unfortunately Bradley was ruled out very early when he crashed and that is not how we wanted to end the season. It is disappointing because he immediately found a good pace in the difficult conditions and we probably would have been in the battle for the podium. A few mistakes recently have cost us a lot of points but this has been a learning year for Bradley and there are still a lot of positives to take from it, including some fantastic performances like in Silverstone. Next year he will be stronger and more experienced so we can look forward to 2012 with a lot of optimism.”