Estoril MotoGP: Bradley Smith not concerned about team orders
Bradley Smith dodged the tricky issue of team orders after he claimed his third 125GP pole position of the season at a rain-lashed Estoril circuit in Portugal.
Gusting winds and heavy rain saw Race Direction cancel qualifying for all three Grand Prix classes to leave the Oxfordshire rider Smith in pole position after grid positions were decided on combined practice times.
Crucially Aspar Aprilia team-mate Nicolas Terol will also start from the front row in fourth place while title rivals Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro were left way down the grid in 11th and 12th respectively.
Terol is eight points behind in-form Marquez, who has won the last three races, going into the penultimate round of the campaign.
Asked what he would do if he was leading Spaniard Terol in the closing stages of tomorrow’s 23-lap race, the 19-year-old said: “Hopefully I’ve got enough of a gap not to worry about it.
"But if I get to the last corner and look over my shoulder and the other Aspar bike is there then maybe I’ll have to do something. But it depends on my mindset at the time. I’m not willing to give away a win. I’ll look over a shoulder and make a decision as I come out of the corner.”
The adverse weather conditions threw up a surprise grid in the 125GP class.
Behind Smith in second is Kent rider Danny Webb after the British pair were two of only three riders to set their best time in Friday morning’s opening practice session. That was Kent's career best qualifying result.