Smith surprised himself with “awesome” charge to eighth

Bradley Smith says he is surprised at the way he was able to come through the field to finish eighth in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, only his second race back from injury.

Smith surprised himself with “awesome” charge to eighth
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crashed bike
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

The Tech 3 Yamaha rider was forced to sit out the Silverstone, Misano and Aragon races after damaging the ligament in his right knee in a crash during practice for the Oschersleben 8 Hours in August.

After taking13th-place finish on his return to MotoGP at Motegi, Smith passed Stefan Bradl, Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci, while also taking advantage of late crashes for Hector Barbera and Nicky Hayden, to gain five places in the last three laps at Phillip Island.

The 25-year-old admitted he was over-cautious in the first laps as he tried to stay out of trouble, but he preserved his tyres, ready to surge through the order and come home eighth.

“With this injury, the last thing you want is to be part of an accident,” said Smith, who dropped from 14th to 18th on the first lap.

“I can’t quite get into the corners how I’d like, so the opening three laps I just gave myself way too much space, everyone jumps me and I get shuffled back.

“Once I got into my rhythm though I was happy, and to hunt down five seconds to Barbera and that crew, was even a surprise for myself.

“I could see the guys burning their tyres, so I was happy to sit back for a couple of laps to try and save the rear tyre a little bit. Those last laps I turned the screw, managed to make my way through it.

“Eighth position was awesome. I’ll take that all day long!”

Leg movement limited

Smith admitted, however, he has yet to regain full mobility in his leg, something he feels was a particularly big penalty at Phillip Island.

“[The movement of the leg is] still limited, I still can’t quite do what I’d like to or make it happen as quick as I’d like to,” admitted the British rider.

“This was probably the worst place for it because of the fast changes of direction, you have to be really precise. But I felt better fitness-wise, everything seems to be going in the right direction.

“I don’t expect Malaysia [next weekend] to be easy, because it never is there, but I’m certainly pleased with the progress.”

Additional reporting by Andrew van Leeuwen

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