Bradley Smith continued his impressive start to his Moto2 career by finishing fourth in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
The Tech 3 rider made an encouraging start in the intermediate class with ninth in Qatar, and the Brit showed his class again at the Andalucian circuit.
After qualifying on the second row, Smith scythed his way through the field to take the lead at the end of the first lap. Eventual winner Andrea Iannone and Thomas Luthi charged past, leaving Smith to battle with Simone Corsi and Stefan Bradl for the final place on the podium.
Corsi claimed third but Smith got the better of Qatar winner Bradl, battling his way past the German on the penultimate lap. The 20 year old from Oxford was ecstatic with the result and felt his aggressive approach paid off.
“In those conditions you need to concentrate so hard that the race feels like a lifetime but I just decided to attack from the start. I was a bit shocked to lead but I felt comfortable because it’s not the first time I’ve been at the front of a Grand Prix. I realised pretty quickly I didn’t have the pace to match Luthi and Iannone when they came by but that’s down to my inexperience and a bit of confidence to push like they were in the rain.
Smith also relished his battle with the championship leader Bradl, and is hopeful of finishing on the podium later in the season.
“It was great to fight with Bradl and once he came by I relaxed a little bit and picked up my pace again. When he made that late mistake I just decided to attack and push as hard as I could and fourth is an amazing result when you consider how tough this class is and how difficult the conditions were. I’ve still got a lot to learn to be fighting closer for the podium but I’ll take this fourth with both hands and look forward to the next race in Estoril with a lot of confidence and optimism.”
Team Manager Herve Poncharal was delighted, and praised his rider's maturity in just his second Moto2 race.
“Fortunately Bradley was born in England and he can cope with the rain! His start was awesome. He was aggressive at the right moment, took the lead and was able to be close to the front for a few laps. But importantly he never tried too hard and let the others pass when he thought it was wiser to let them get in front. The second part of the race was very long for my heart. It started to rain more, so it got more difficult as the tyres got more used. I am really pleased with Bradley and his way of learning and his improvements. He is really fast and that shows that the Mistral610 has a good potential”.