Bradley Smith believes the rain that affected Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix prevented him from fighting for a podium finish. Despite breaking two toes in practice, Smith qualified sixth but wasn’t comfortable in the wet conditions, ending up a lonely eighth. The Briton later admitted he’d taken a cautious approach to protect the injuries he’d sustained.

“The weather conditions worked against us today and it was a little bit disappointing because after a weekend where we were always competitive in the dry it would have been fantastic to have a dry race. I was second in the warm-up and in the dry I was very confident of battling for the top three. I attacked right from the beginning as I really wanted to be in front and it was brilliant to lead a race. It might have only been for a short time but it is still a big boost for me and the Tech 3 Racing Team. But I felt from the first lap that we were struggling a bit with rear grip, so I just concentrated on being as fast and smooth as I possibly could without taking too many chances. My left foot wasn’t too bad once the adrenaline kicked in and to be honest I hardly noticed it, but the last thing I needed was a crash. I was in a consistent rhythm when the track was drying but then it started raining again and I was just taking calculated risks and not pushing too hard. Eighth is a decent result and good for the Championship and hopefully we can be strong again in Phillip Island.”

Tech 3 teammate Xavier Simeon was unable to show his wet-weather prowess after colliding with Johann Zarco on the opening lap, his sixth retirement in seven races.

“I made a very good start and made up some places by being strong in the first corner. I was already inside the points when Zarco made a small mistake at Turn 6”, he explained. “I had to brake at an angle and unfortunately we crashed out together. It’s a real pity because even if the qualifying was not the best, the Mistral 610 was really good this weekend and in the warm-up I was fast again, so sure I could have done a strong race, especially in those tricky conditions where I am normally very fast. Now we have to try our maximum again in Australia.”