Jerez MotoGP: Bradley Smith expects fierce Spanish challenge

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Bradley Smith expects Spanish team-mates Julian Simon and Sergio Gadea to pose the biggest threat to his hopes of a maiden 125GP victory in Jerez this weekend.

The Oxfordshire rider has had an indifferent start to 2009, a fifth placed in the shortened Qatar race followed by a tenth place in Japan last weekend as he encountered power delivery issues with his Aspar Aprilia machine.

Home favourite Simon will start this weekend’s Spanish GP as the red-hot favourite, though Smith was boosted by finishing a close second to the Spaniard during testing last month at the Andalucia venue.

Smith said: “I know the Spanish guys won't be making it easy for us but Jerez is a circuit where we know we can go fast and we are not going to let the opportunity of a good result slip through our grasp.

"We have a lot of information from preseason testing that I'm sure will help us to get off to a good start and be on the pace from Friday.

"We haven't had much luck with the weather over the opening two rounds so now is the time to follow up all the hard work we've been doing with a top result."

Smith will also be hoping for a trouble-free race after his heroics in Japan last weekend.

He looked like an extra out of a horror movie after he miraculously saved himself from a massive high-side crash just two laps from the end of the Twin Ring Motegi race.

The 18-year-old suffered two nasty gashes in his neck when he smashed the screen of his bike.

The incident was caused by a bottom end power delivery issue and the cuts left Smith’s face, body and bike blood spattered and he said: “I got cut when I smashed the screen going up, and as I’ve come down I’ve been hit by a jagged piece of the broken screen. It felt like a knife going in and out of my neck.”

As blood poured all over Smith he contemplated retiring, but stayed out for 10th place.

Dominique Aegerter, who was behind Smith when he lost control, was also blood spattered at the end of the race.

Smith added: “I was a bit worried because I was losing a lot of blood. My bike, helmet, leathers and face were covered and it really did look a mess. The problem was the engine in first and second gear.

"I’d open the throttle and there would be a big delay and then the power would come in so aggressive it was scary.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt