Bradley Smith has walked away from the Australian Grand Prix delighted with his performance on Sunday, after taking a top eight finish that even he believed would have been unrealistic before the race, as he continues his return from a horrible knee injury.
Still struggling with flexibility in his right knee, he was nonetheless able to rally back in the second half of the race to pull an impressive performance out of the bag – one of his best of the season.
“With this injury and being buried so deep in the pack, the last thing you want is to cause an accident. I can’t quite go into the corners how I’d like, and the opening three laps I was just leaving too much space around myself and got shuffled back.
“But once I got into my rhythm, I was able to hunt down the five seconds to the group in front of me. TO be able to came as a surprise even to myself though! Those last few laps I just really turned the screws to make my way through it, and eighth position was awesome – I’d take that all day long.”
And while his recovery is still on-going as he looks to return to full fitness not only for the last round of the championship at Valencia but also for his debut on the factory KTM RC16 he’ll ride in 2017 only a few days later, he’s also pleased with the progress he’s making there.
“Everything is going in the right direction now. I’m pleased with the progress, and Malaysia might be a little easier. I’m still limited with what I can do or make things happen quite as quickly as I’d like to, and that’s not ideal with the fast changes of direction at Phillip Island.