Bradley Smith fought bravely to finish ninth in yesterday's Qatar Grand Prix despite a series of issues that made life difficult for him. The Briton suffered from food poisoning the night before the race and after moving up to eighth early on, lost his rear brake midway through the race.
The Tech 3 rider admitted that he was expecting to be further behind the leaders than he was yesterday and will now head to the second race at Jerez with optimism.
“I gave my absolute maximum out there tonight and I am really happy considering the circumstances to finish in ninth. It has been a tough winter while we have worked so hard to improve the Mistral 610 machine, so this top 10 gives me good motivation for the forthcoming races. The Tech 3 Team did a fantastic job and each time I went out on the bike we made a big step. The race was going well and I was having good battle with de Angelis when I lost my rear brake just after halfway. That meant I made a few mistakes and physically I was tired because of the food poisoning. I’m just glad I trained so hard in the winter because I was drained of a lot of energy by the sickness. To be only 10 seconds behind the winner is a decent result because after qualifying it looked like it could be 20. So we found half-a-second for the race and now I am looking to Jerez with a lot of confidence.”
Teammate Xavier Simeon missed out on points after finishing 17th with his race ruined by a mistake on the opening lap.
“I’m pretty disappointed because I made a good first lap and my goal was to finish in the top 10. I’m convinced if I hadn’t a mistake in the last corner during the first lap I would have reached this goal. I made a mistake while changing gear and went out of the track. When I came back I tried everything to climb back up the field but the pace was that close that it was really tricky. I never gave up and kept pushing at my maximum level and when I look at my lap time I know that I would have been able to finish in the points, so it’s a shame. I came to Qatar with high expectations and unfortunately I could not achieve them, so I hope to do a better job in Jerez.”
Team Principal Herve Poncharal was pleased with the way his riders battled after their various problems and thinks they can push on at the next race in three weeks' time.
“Moto2 has always delivered some incredibly exciting racing and I’m glad to see nothing has changed in 2012. I’m very pleased to see Bradley in full attack mode in a race again and he was very aggressive at the beginning. For the first half of the race he was in the leading group and we knew we would have a very good second half of the race because the Mistral 610 is really good on used tyres. But unfortunately Bradley was very sick during the night, so his physical condition was not perfect. He was completely exhausted after the race and I want to thank him for riding such a determined race when he wasn’t in peak condition. I think he had to potential to finish in the top six, which is very important to see that we can be really competitive.”
“I also feel sorry and at the same time happy for Xavier because he did a good opening lap but he made a small mistake. After that though he got his head down and managed to do very good lap times, so for sure without this mistake he would have finished in the top 15. I’m convinced that both guys have the possibility to show us a lot of very good performances this season and I’m really looking forward to the next race in Jerez.”