Tech 3 Yamaha’s Smith scores first career MotoGP podium
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith rode a careful race to finish third at the Tissot Australian Grand Prix, claiming his best finish in the premier class.
Starting fourth, Smith made an electric start to immediately challenge for the lead. Several big moments saw the English rider drop positions. He recovered and began fighting in a large group of riders that included Andrea Iannone, Dani Pedrosa, Aleix Espargaro, Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl and teammate Pol Espargaro.
The fighting in the group was fierce and saw multiple incidents, such as Iannone and Pedrosa colliding at Turn 4. Smith himself narrowly avoided the incident between Bradl and Aleix Espargaro several laps later at the same corner.
Focusing hard, Smith worked on creating a gap from Dovizioso and the remaining riders. Late crashes from Cal Crutchlow and his teammate Espargaro, again at Turn 4, had Smith on the podium, much to his own disbelief.
Now with 108 World Championship points, Smith sits eighth and is just nine points behind Aleix Espargaro in sixth overall. After the race received a penalty point for overtaking under yellow flags in the wake of the Bradl incident.
"It’s a crazy result really for me. I did a really good start and tried to push very hard, but I had some big moments. At one point I was going backwards pretty fast. I made some massive mistakes despite a good start. I calmed down a little and focused more. I ended up in the battle with five or six other riders, like Moto2 again. I just missed the incident with Bradl and Aleix, that was close. I got a bit lucky to avoid that," said a visibly thrilled Smith.
He continued, "I saw my teammate and Cal both go down at Turn 4 in front of me. I didn’t even know I was third on the last lap. I crossed the line and it was just Jorge and Rossi ahead of me so I checked the big screen. I then started making some weird noises in my helmet, but it’s pretty special to have my first podium. A huge thank you to the team having faith in me enough to keep me this year and the next year."