Qatar MotoGP: Bradley Smith misses top ten

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Bradley Smith made a somewhat disappointing start to the 2010 125GP world championship in Qatar tonight.

The pre-season title favourite was only 11th on the timesheets at the end of the first practice session under the Losail International Circuit floodlights. The Oxfordshire rider had a frustrating opening to the new season as he was kept in the pits for much of the early stages while his Aspar Aprilia mechanics appeared to try and rectify a mechanical issue.

The 2009 runner-up, who finished with six successive podium finishes in the last six races of last year, ended with a best time of 2.09.945 to finish 2.727s off the quickest pace.

For most of the session fellow British rider Danny Webb overshadowed Smith. Webb was as high as fourth in the early stages and he was looking in strong form when the 19-year-old lost the front of his Aprilia machine with just less than 20 minutes remaining. Webb was running fifth at the time but was unable to complete more laps and dropped down the rankings to 10th place with a best lap of 2.09.261.

The session was dominated by a large Spanish contingent in this year’s 125GP class. Pol Espargaro, who won two of the last six races in 2009, took the spoils with a best time of 2.07.218. Efren Vazquez was a further 0.312s adrift in second with Marc Marquez third on the Derbi clocking a best time of 2.07.592 for third.

German Sandro Cortese completed the top four as he posted a best lap of 2.08.170 to be the last rider to lap within a second of Espargaro.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt