Bradley Smith apologised to his Tech 3 team after crashing his updated Mistral 610 in the closing stages of qualifying at Mugello. The Briton ended up in seventh as a result but a penalty for Johann Zarco will promote him to sixth on the grid and Smith is looking to race with the leaders on Sunday.

“Firstly I need to apologise to the Team for the crash on the last lap but unfortunately that can happen when you are pushing for a fast lap time in qualifying. Practice was very positive for us finishing fourth and this afternoon again I felt quite good, so I am very optimistic for tomorrow. At the end of the session I was trying to pick up some tenths and get on the second row at least but I lost the front at the second corner. Seventh on the grid is still not bad and as always it will be important to get a good start to try and get away with the leading group. It will be physically demanding tomorrow with the heat and nature of the circuit making it very tough on the body. All weekend though we have been competitive and I am looking forward to tomorrow. Last year’s race was awesome and I’d love to be in another battle like that. It will be difficult but I will be giving it my all.”

Teammate Xavier Simeon also trashed his new-spec machine after a heavy crash at the Correntaio corner and admits he is going to have his work cut out on Sunday from 26th.

“It was a really big pity to crash out so early in the session because we had some important work to do on the Mistral 610 machine. We have found it difficult to find a good set-up and this afternoon in the hotter conditions I didn’t have a very good feeling with the bike. Each time I tried to push into the corner I could lose the rear on the entry and that’s what happened when I crashed. When I went to change direction I lost the rear and unfortunately the bike was too badly damaged and I could only complete four laps. Starting 26th means I have given myself a difficult job tomorrow but I will try my best to recover as many places as I can. It will be a long race and I will probably be hurting a bit from the crash, but I am determined to put in a strong performance for the Tech 3 Racing Team.”