For a while, Bradley Smith was very much on top of things at Le Mans this weekend at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. After a challenging start to 2016, he was able to qualify as sixth and stayed well within the top ten for the first twenty laps as others crashed to their doom all around him. But alas, he too eventually succumbed to the circuit’s unforgiving nature when he tried to overtake the Espargaro brothers on Lap 20. As he revved up on the corner speed, his ailing front tyre gave way and sent him hurtling out of the running to the podium.
— CRASH.NET/MotoGP (@crash_motogp) May 8, 2016
“I started well and the first ten laps or so were positive, but then I experienced a bit of a tricky period as I had a coming together with Pedrosa and I lost some time as I ran off track. However, after that, I felt that I was getting a second wind. I felt that my rhythm was getting stronger, plus I was able to improve my lap times so I focused on being as smooth as possible. At the moment, I saw that I was catching Aleix as well as Pol, yet I went too close to the limit as the front tyre was starting to drop away and I carried a bit too much corner speed so I rolled off the side of the tyre.”
While Smith is understandably miffed by his aborted chances at a podium finish, he has to keep up hopes for Mugello. His consistency in remaining within the top ten is a good indicator that there are greater things in store for the Brit when he next hits the tracks. The only thing that’s holding him back is the lack of a better bike and well, that’s what his world class team is for. Certainly doesn’t hurt that Mugello happens to be one of his favourite circuits on the calendar. So if he loses, at least he’ll have fun doing it.