A career best qualifying performance and a fifth successive top 10 finish of 2013 in Assen last weekend didn’t come as comfortably as British rider Bradley Smith might have hoped.
Surgery after finishing in a career best sixth in Barcelona to insert a screw in a fractured scaphoid bone in his left wrist didn't alleviate the pain and discomfort as much as he’d anticipated.
Continuing to struggle with pain through Assen’s sweeping sections and fast changes of direction, Smith dropped back from a stunning sixth on the grid to 11th before he snatched a last gasp ninth from factory Ducati duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden at the final chicane.
Smith’s recovering wrist, which he first damaged in Mugello last month, will get a severe examination at the next two races in Sachsenring and Laguna Seca, with both tracks dominated by left corners.
The 22-year-old said: “I am looking forward to a week of recovery. At the moment the wrist is affecting me a lot on the bike. The broken scaphoid was very difficult to ride with because Assen is a high-speed track and you are always moving and changing direction, so I was happy to finish ninth. The best position I could have hoped for was seventh and I finished only three seconds behind Alvaro (Bautista).
But it was the hardest race of the year for me and after the operation I had in Barcelona I expected it to be much better. But to be honest I was in more pain in Assen.”
Smith also praised Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate after the former World Supersport champion enjoyed another memorable weekend in Holland.
The 27-year-old became the first British rider to claim a premier class pole position since Jeremy McWilliams in 2002 and he then raced to a third rostrum of the season in Saturday’s 26-lap Dutch TT.
Smith told MCN on Friday in Assen that he thought Crutchlow’s campaign had been ‘absolutely fantastic’ and he said: “He is keeping his head down and working hard and he is continuing to push forward and pole position is proof again of how good the guy is.”