Bradley Smith: ‘I was lucky to walk away’

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British rider Bradley Smith admitted he was lucky to emerge from a high speed practice crash in Mugello today with only a nasty wound to his left little finger and a small fracture in his left wrist.

Sixth in tricky damp conditions this morning, Smith was lying in eighth on a full dry track for FP2 when he high-sided at Turn 15 while trying to improve his best lap time of 1.50.103.

The 22-year-old landed heavily on his left side and he lost most of the skin off his left little finger when his hand got trapped underneath his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine.

Smith suffered a small break in his left scaphoid bone and the little finger was so badly damaged that while he has been passed fit to ride tomorrow (Saturday), he will undergo a skin graft on Monday in San Marino.

Smith admitted the crash was all his own fault as he pushed hard to ensure he secured a top 10 finish in FP2.

With rain forecast tomorrow, times from FP2 are likely to decide who is automatically seeded into the second qualifying session tomorrow.

But pushing hard on a new Bridgestone rear tyre to remain in the top 10 and claim a place in QP2, Smith was caught out by a lack of temperature in the fresh rubber in the third gear left-hander.

He told MCN: “It was a brand new tyre and I’d not run it in enough and the track was a little bit greasy and I got a little bit giddy. It could have been a lot worse and after I saw the crash I thought I can’t complain about the injury. The finger was a right mess but they cleaned it up nicely.

"Unfortunately there seems to be some tendon damage and I can’t straighten my finger so I’ve lost the tendon in there somewhere. I’ve got a fracture in the scaphoid but I’ve also got an old one in there that looks similar and it doesn’t feel great right now but I can move it and there is no displacement of the fracture and that’s a positive.

"The old one though I didn’t even know I’d done it before. I need to go for a skin graft either Sunday night or Monday in San Marino, so if I can ride I will finish the race and go straight for that.”

Smith said the scariest part of the crash had been knowing his left hand was trapped under his YZR-M1, which was chasing him into the gravel trap.

He added: “I could feel the bike was chasing me. The worst thing though was I knew my hand was underneath the bike and you know you need to get it out but you can’t. I was pulling it and pulling it but it wouldn’t come out from underneath the bike. Part of you wants to keep your hand there to stop the bike from coming on top of you but a part of you wants to free your hand.

"I got away lucky to be honest and it could have been a hell of a lot worse than it was. It is a fast corner – third gear and downhill - so to high-side a MotoGP bike I am lucky to walk away with what I’ve got. I need to take it as a learning experience and take it gentler. I probably tried to carry too much speed or lean angle and it was all my fault and I have to learn from it and be a bit more sensible.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt