Indy MotoGP: High-side wrecks Bradley Smith’s podium bid

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Bradley Smith suffered a painful and bitterly disappointing Indianapolis 125GP race today when he crashed out of second place.

Recovering from a poor start that dropped him back to sixth on the opening lap, the British rider had brilliantly fought his way back into podium contention when he suffered a big high-side crash on lap 13.

The Aspar Aprilia rider landed heavily on the tarmac and appeared to be momentarily winded before he was able to get to his feet and walk away.

But the crash cost Smith a golden chance to claim only his third podium finish of the campaign and second in succession at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Oxfordshire rider also saw his impressive run of finishing in the top eight in the last 16 races come to an abrupt end.

It was a bitter blow for Smith after he’d clawed his way through the field to take second.

He passed Esteve Rabat to take fifth on lap two but was already 1.551s away from Pol Espargaro in fourth.

He had seized fourth on lap six with a pass on Efren Vazquez and then superbly hunted down Espargaro.

A big blunder by runaway leader Marc Marquez on lap nine promoted Smith into third place and a lap later he swept by Espargaro to claim second.

But with Aspar Aprilia team-mate Nicolas Terol over eight seconds clear of the field, Smith was trying to stretch away from German Sandro Cortese and Espargaro when he crashed out.

A second successive win and third of the 2010 campaign hauled Terol firmly back into the title hunt following compatriot Marquez’s costly early error.

Derbi rider Marquez, who had claimed a brilliant seventh pole position in qualifying, was looking like cruising to another comfortable win as he broke Terol’s early resistance.

His advantage was 1.628s at the end of lap seven and on lap eight he was a second faster than Terol to move into a commanding 2.640s lead.

But he lost control after losing rear grip on his Derbi machine and hopes of a sixth win of the season went beckoning.

Marquez was unhurt in the incident and his bike undamaged so he could recover brilliantly from 14th to eighth.

But his afternoon got even worse when he was penalised 20 seconds for an illegal move on the penultimate lap. Having thought he’d finished fifth, he was eventually demoted to tenth.

He has now missed the top six in the last two races and seen his points lead reduced dramatically since the summer break.

Terol’s second win in three years at the historic Indianapolis circuit moved him to within four-points of Marquez with seven races remaining.

Cortese claimed a comfortable second having easily disposed of the threat posed by Espargaro to claim his second rostrum in the last three races. Espargaro was third and just one-point further back on Terol.

British teenager Danny Webb had a fantastic ride to claim a superb sixth for his best result of the campaign in baking hot conditions.

Nursing a badly damaged left hip after a heavy crash yesterday, Webb was less then a tenth away from equalling his career best fifth position having just failed to overhaul Rabat at the end of the 23-lap race.

His sixth though moved him into the top ten in the overall standings.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt