Britain’s Bradley Smith survived several big moments in the opening laps of today’s Phillip Island MotoGP and nearly being taken out by an errant Stefan Bradl to claim his first ever premier class podium.
The Monster Yamaha man was on the verge of tears in parc ferme after taking the chequered flag and said he didn’t know he had bagged third place until he saw Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi in front of him. At that point he ‘made some strange noises’ in his helmet.
Smith started well but was too aggressive and ended up in a battle for fifth place but crashes for team-mate Pol Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow meant he managed to stand on the podium for the first time.
“It was a crazy race. I did a good start and tired to push at the beginning of the race and was far too aggressive. I had lots of big moments and nearly crashed three or four times in the first two laps so I had to take it down a peg or two,” said Smith, speaking at Phillip Island.
“The I ended up in that battle which felt like a 125 or Moto3 race. I was lucky I spotted Stefan out of the corner of my eye because I could see him coming in really fast. He hit Aleix and nearly collected both me and Andrea, so that was a lucky break.
“The I had to concentrate on Pol but we went down in front of me, and then there was Cal. I didn’t even know which position I was. I came over the line, down to the first corner and saw third or Smith or something and I was like, ‘There’s something wrong with that screen’ but I saw Jorge and Valentino there and I was the only other one. Then I started to make some weird noises in my helmet.
“It’s special moment. It still hasn’t sunk it fully. Always you dream about the first podium and usually I am in the garage listening to Spanish and Italian national anthems so to be part of that celebration is very cool. I’ve closed in on sixth in the championship so that can be my target for the rest of the season.”
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