Bradley Smith felt he could’ve finished in the top six in Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix had it run to full distance. The race was red flagged three laps in following an oil spillage and restarted over fourteen laps, twelve less than scheduled.
Smith came through from the fourth row to finish eighth but with his Tech 3 Mistral 610 usually getting stronger as the race goes on, the Briton was sure of making progress.
“It was a good race and I’m just a little bit disappointed that we only had 14 laps because normally I’m really strong and recover some positions during the last part of the race. Had the race been longer I am convinced I could have been in the top six because I felt a few guys would not be able to keep that pace. It was a tricky race and it felt like 14 qualifying laps but the encouraging thing is I was very close to fourth and I managed to beat Luthi and Zarco. We are still lacking in a few areas but we made a good step forward and I’m excited to go to Aragon because we have a direction we want to try with the Mistral 610.”
Teammate Xavier Simeon failed to join Smith in the points after crashing out on lap seven and the Belgian was quick to apologise to his mechanics for losing a possible top ten finish.
“I’m really disappointed because it’s the fourth race in a row I did not finish and I just want to say sorry to the Tech 3 Racing Team because today I had a really good bike. The first race was not too bad. I did a good start and could have been able to fight for a top ten result. When the race was interrupted I lost a bit my rhythm but I was still able to fight inside the top 15 and I was confident I was going to get stronger as the race wore on. But I made a mistake. Unfortunately I lost the front going into Turn 8. I still don’t really understand why because I wasn’t a t lean angle when I crashed. It’s a pity and I’m just looking forward to Aragon hoping to improve my performance there.”
Team Manager Herve Poncharal was impressed with the way both riders coped with the lack of dry practice although he was sad to see Simeon go without reward.
“The weather played a big part this weekend but I think Bradley, Xavier and the Tech 3 Racing Team coped brilliantly in tough circumstances to give us a good opportunity to have both of them in the points. It is hard mentally when the race is stopped and restarted because you have to psyche yourself up again but Bradley and Xavier were doing a really good job. Bradley was involved in a really strong fight in the group that was battling for fourth position and as always he gave his maximum effort. He achieved another very strong result and I am happy with his performance. I’m also pleased with Xavier, although it would have been much better if he could have scored some points. We know he has great potential and he showed that again this weekend, but the key point is finishing races and unfortunately he was unable to do that. He has the speed but he has to learn not to make mistakes at crucial times.”