Jerez MotoGP: Second row for Bradley Smith

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Bradley Smith will need to produce the performance of his career if he is to capture a second successive 125GP victory in the Spanish GP at Jerez tomorrow.

The British teenager, who won his first world championship race in Jerez a year ago, will start tomorrow’s 23-lap race from the second row of the grid. But alarmingly for the Oxfordshire rider he was close to a second off the fastest pace set by the impressive Marc Marquez.

Smith clocked a best time of 1.47.753 on his 16th and final lap but it was only good enough for seventh place on the grid as he ended 0.924s slower than Marquez. Smith will start one place ahead of fellow British rider Danny Webb, who had an encouraging ride to eighth position. Webb’s best time of 1.48.164 saw him finish 0.411s adrift of Smith as he too clocked his best lap right at the death.

Tomorrow’s race though looks like its set-up for a classic home tussle between a batch of top young Spaniard’s. Marquez is sure to figure prominently after he snatched his second successive pole position with a brilliant lap of 1.46.829 in the final ten minutes.

Although he came under severe pressure from the likes of Pol Espargaro and Efren Vazquez, the Derbi rider claimed pole by 0.104s. Espargaro had to settle for second spot with Vazquez the only other rider who could lap within half-a-second of Marquez’s speed.

He clocked a best time of 1.47.275 to finish 0.446s back. Esteve Rabat completes the front row with Qatar winner and world championship leader Nicolas Terol in fifth place. He set a best time of 1.47.443 to finish 0.614s off pole position with German Sandro Cortese the first non-Spanish rider in sixth place.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt