British rider Bradley Smith put his bitter Qatar disappointment behind him today to claim a brilliant third place in the Spanish GP.
The Polaris World Aprilia rider, who had qualified on pole in Qatar but missed a points-scoring finish after a steering damper failure, claimed only his second career podium in front of a massive Jerez crowd.
The Oxfordshire rider, who started from his second successive pole position – the first back-to-back pole by a British rider in any GP class since Barry Sheene in 1979 – survived an epic last lap tussle with Stefan Bradl to claim third place by just 0.036s.
It matched his previous best result when he claimed a debut third place in Le Mans nearly 12 months ago.
Smith, who led for the first lap but then got cut adrift from eventual winner Simone Corsi and Nicolas Terol as grip from his Dunlop tyres faded in the final eight laps, said: “It is a great result for me and the team because it has been a very tough weekend,
”We had a few problems and to get pole position was a bit of a bonus.
”We knew we could do a good fast one-off lap because we had shown this in the test, but the race pace was quite difficult.
“The conditions were a little bit strange because the race started off warm but then got cooler and I’m not sure if that played a par. But Corsi and Terol just didn’t make a single mistake.
”They rode a great race and when I tried to pass them and get away but I made a couple of mistakes.
”My rear tyre started going off with about eight laps to go and I was left to fight it out for third. I was pushing hard and sometimes probably a bit too hard because I had a couple of moments.
”I knew Bradl was going to have a go at me but I was determined to get on the podium after the tough weekend we had in Qatar.
”To bounce back instantly from such a disappointment in the first race is brilliant. We needed to get a result because you can’t afford not to score points in that many races. We are back in contention now.”
British rookie Scott Redding maintained his excellent start as he claimed seventh, while Danny Webb crashed out at the final corner on lap nine.