Bradley Smith's Australian Grand Prix was hampered by an off-track excursion which the Briton felt cost him a possible podium finish. The Tech 3 rider was running in third place behind Stefan Bradl and Alex de Angelis before losing control of his Mistral 610, forcing him to run through the gravel trap.
Smith fell to the back of the field and although he stormed back up to 18th, the 20 year old was hugely frustrated at the missed opportunity.
“Obviously today was pretty disappointing and not what I hoped for. I did exactly the same as I did every other lap going into the corner, but I think the bike was unsettled a little bit by the curbs and just went sideways. I had to go straight and there was nothing that I could do. It is one of those moments that when they happen you just have to react as quickly as possible to keep control of the bike. I was fourth at the time and feeling really confident of getting a podium, so to be not even in the points is difficult to accept. At the moment we don’t seem to be able to catch a break and we’ve had some bad luck. But that’s racing and once again we have shown the potential of the bike and I hope to be battling for the podium in Sepang in a few days.”
Teammate Mike Di Meglio ended the day much happier after his strongest performance of the season. The Frenchman started from the front row before coming home in ninth and admitted he could have been even higher had he not made a mistake himself.
“Although I was hoping to finish higher than ninth, I can still be satisfied because I was on the front row and fighting for the podium for the first time this season. I felt some trouble with my front tyre at the beginning of the race because I was pushing very hard to stay with the front two. I really was at the limit with the front and then I had a big moment at Turn 4. Corti had just passed me and as soon as I got to the apex the front closed and I was very close to crashing. I touched the ground with my knee and elbow, but managed to pick up my bike again and this cost me a lot of places and valuable time. I am very upset about this incident because I was faster than the riders in front of me who were battling for fifth position at the end and am sure I could have finished in front of that group. It is a shame that I was unable to keep fighting for the podium because today we showed what a competitive package the Tech 3 Racing Mistral 610 machine is.”
Team Manager Herve Poncharal was satisfied at the end of a race which saw both his riders running with the leaders although he was disappointed to see Smith lose out on valuable points.
“Not since the beginning of the season have we seen both of our Mistral 610 bikes fighting at the front like here today. That is a very satisfying feeling and credit to everybody that has worked so hard on this project. Mike and Bradley both had a really solid start and were pushing very hard in the first few laps. We knew it was not going to be easy, but having two bikes in front meant we were hoping for at least one top five. Unfortunately Bradley lost the rear at Siberia and he had to run off track and he finished outside of the points. This is a big disappointment for him as it would have been the possibility to go back to fifth in the World Championship.”
“Mike was very fast and it was by far the best race of the year for him. Coming after his fantastic qualifying he was unlucky not to stay in the fight for the podium. Unfortunately he had small issue with the grip from the front tyre that he’d never experienced all weekend, so we have to check the reason why. There’s no doubt he got a big boost though with how fast he was all weekend and I hope he will be back in Moto2 next year because he proved today he can fight with the best in this very competitive class.”