Bradley Smith missed his first podium finish of 2010 by just 0.045s today in a classic Italian 125GP at Mugello.
Bidding for a second straight win at the spectacular Italian venue, the Oxfordshire rider lost out in a titanic scrap with Spanish trio Marc Marquez, Nicolas Terol and Pol Espargaro.
Starting from the front row of the grid for the first time this season, Smith made a sluggish start and dropped down to sixth on the opening lap.
He was bumped up to fifth when Sandro Cortese, who had started the 20-lap race from pole position, crashed out on the second lap.
Aspar Aprilia team-mate Terol and Espargaro made a quick breakaway at the front and only three laps had elapsed and Smith was already trying to close down a two second deficit on the leading pair.
But aided by a brilliant charge by eventual winner Marquez on the Derbi machine, Smith was firmly in contention for his third career win shortly before the halfway stage.
Smith went from fourth to first on lap nine but briefly surrendered the lead to Marquez a lap later.
He dropped to fourth again on lap 13 as the quartet constantly switched places in the slipstream on Mugello’s long start/finish straight.
Smith found himself back at the front on lap 14 and he led the way for three more laps before coming under a renewed attack from Marquez.
Smith was in resilient and fast mood though and he regained the lead, only to go from first to fourth again at the start of the penultimate lap.
The 19-year-old tried everything to secure his first podium of the season but he was unable to claw his way by the hard-charging Spanish trio and eventually had to settle for fourth position, just 0.161s away from the victory.
Marquez won for the first time in his career by just 0.039s, with Terol extending his championship advantage to six-points having survived a late attack from Espargaro.
Marquez is now only 28-points behind Terol with Smith taking fourth in the championship after Efren Vazquez could only finish in a distant fifth.
British rider Danny Webb finished 10th and he was less than four tenths away from eighth after an exciting mid-pack fight with Tomoyoshi Koyama and Johann Zarco.
1 25 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Red Bull Ajo Motorsport Derbi 157.8 39'53.153
2 20 40 Nicolas TEROL SPA Bancaja Aspar Team Aprilia 157.8 +0.039
3 16 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Tuenti Racing Derbi 157.8 +0.116
4 13 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Bancaja Aspar Team Aprilia 157.8 +0.161
5 11 7 Efren VAZQUEZ SPA Tuenti Racing Derbi 157.1 +10.281
6 10 35 Randy KRUMMENACHER SWI Stipa-Molenaar Racing GP Aprilia 157.1 +10.364
7 9 12 Esteve RABAT SPA Blusens-STX Aprilia 157.1 +10.562
8 8 71 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA JPN Racing Team Germany Aprilia 155.4 +36.341
9 7 14 Johann ZARCO FRA WTR San Marino Team Aprilia 155.4 +36.411
10 6 99 Danny WEBB GBR Andalucia Cajasol Aprilia 155.4 +36.730
11 5 94 Jonas FOLGER GER Ongetta Team Aprilia 155.4 +36.775
12 4 5 Alexis MASBOU FRA Ongetta Team Aprilia 154.8 +45.871
13 3 78 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Interwetten Honda 125 Honda 154.8 +45.879
14 2 53 Jasper IWEMA NED CBC Corse Aprilia 154.8 +45.895
15 1 15 Simone GROTZKYJ ITA Fontana Racing Aprilia 154.8 +46.060
16 51 Riccardo MORETTI ITA Junior GP FMI Aprilia 154.6 +50.305
17 84 Jakub KORNFEIL CZE Racing Team Germany Aprilia 154.5 +50.789
18 95 Alessandro TONUCCI ITA Junior GP Racing Team FMI Aprilia 154.4 +53.145
19 98 Mattia TAROZZI ITA Faenza Racing Aprilia 152.7 +1'19.447
20 97 Armando PONTONE ITA Junior GP Racing Team FMI Aprilia 152.7 +1'19.541
21 63 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN MAL AirAsia - Sepang Int. Circuit Aprilia 152.7 +1'19.545
22 60 Michael VAN DER MARK NED Lambretta Reparto Corse Lambretta 152.6 +1'21.764
23 Alberto MONCAYO SPA Andalucia Cajasol Aprilia 154.8 4 Laps
92 Luigi MORCIANO ITA Junior GP Racing Team FMI Aprilia 154.7 4 Laps
69 Louis ROSSI FRA CBC Corse Aprilia 154.7 6 Laps
50 Sturla FAGERHAUG NOR AirAsia - Sepang Int. Circuit Aprilia 153.6 8 Laps
11 Sandro CORTESE GER Avant Mitsubishi Ajo Derbi 152.1 13 Laps
32 Lorenzo SAVADORI ITA Matteoni CP Racing Aprilia 149.5 16 Laps
96 Tommaso GABRIELLI ITA Racing Team Gabrielli Aprilia 149.2 17 Laps
72 Marco RAVAIOLI ITA Lambretta Reparto Corse Lambretta 146.0 17 Laps
87 Luca MARCONI ITA Ongetta Team Aprilia 141.9 19 Laps
39 Luis SALOM SPA Stipa-Molenaar Racing GP Aprilia 0 Lap