Bradley Smith has admitted that this return from injury following MotoGP’s three flyaway races has been better than he could have expected, after coming back only seven weeks after a horrific knee injury to take three strong finishes.
Smith severely damaged the ligaments in his right knee during practice for a wildcard appearance in the Endurance World Championship at Oschersleben, and many feared that the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider’s season was over.
But, working hard with some of the UK’s best surgeons and with an extensive physiotherapy team, he says he’s delighted not only with his progress but with his results.
"I have to start by saying that the three back to back races have been fantastic and I am more than satisfied with the results. To come back from my injury and score three point-scoring finishes is much better than what I was expecting. If we look at the bigger picture, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team did a superb job as well as the Clinica Mobile medical staff who made sure that I could compete in every session.”
However, that doesn’t mean that the intense race schedule has been easy for the Oxfordshire racer, and Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix was probably the hardest of the three for him thanks to a combination of factors.
“In terms of the race, it certainly was tough due to the conditions but we have to be content with another finish in the points, even if we were hoping for more. I decided to risk using the hard rear tyre but it is not a compound that I have liked in the past, even though my feeling with it in FP4 was ok on the whole.
“Unfortunately, with the amount of water that was on the track, I wasn’t able to generate the right temperature into the rear tyre so it was tricky but I did my best and I don’t think that I could have given any more. It’s a pity to end up in 14th because we’ve had really good pace throughout the weekend, yet we have to look at the positives and take them onboard.
“Now, we will have a weekend off and then I will head to Valencia, ready for my final appearance with the Tech3 team, where I will do my absolute best."