An undiagnosed engine failure robbed British rookie Bradley Smith of the chance to notch a seventh successive top 10 finish in the 2013 MotoGP campaign at Laguna Seca yesterday (Sunday).
Smith was lying in 10th and right on the tail of factory Ducati duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden when his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 spluttered to a halt at the end of lap eight.
Smith was fortunate nobody was immediately behind him when his YZR-M1 suddenly cut out as he accelerated on the super-fast front straight to approach the blind entry to the first corner.
Smith told MCN: “It was an engine problem. It just stopped and that’s it. I shifted to second and third out of the last corner and then it switched off. There was no warning sign.
"I was a bit worried because I suddenly had no power at all and I was at the blind spot at Turn 1 and I moved over to the right side of the track just praying nobody was behind me and it certainly wasn’t the best place for it to happen. I just had to cruise over to the side and pull in.”
The mechanical retirement was Smith’s first DNF since he crashed out on his premier class debut in Qatar back in April. The 22-year-old refused to be too downbeat having established himself as a consistent top 10 challenger in his first season.
He said: “I am very disappointed with a mechanical but I can’t be too upset because my Yamaha has not missed a beat all season. I can’t go shouting and kicking and screaming too much.
"It is disappointing that it happened in the race and you kind of wish it happened in the practice or in the warm-up. I felt good for the race after a very positive warm-up and it is one of those things.
"I can’t be negative because we are getting closer on race pace. In the first nine races the learning process has been great and the fact that there was a hiccup can’t be helped.”
For more from the Laguna Seca MotoGP round, see the July 24 issue of MCN.