Three crashes in a day should leave a rider disconsolate and thumbing through their book of excuses. For Bradley Smith however today's crashes left him confident of his potential for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix.
Smith has spent this year riding to the limit of his Tech3 Yamaha and rarely overstepping the mark but at Motegi he's been quick from the outset and has been keen to show his potential. Smith has been a fixture in the top five this weekend and felt that the speed was there for a second row start with the potential of a front row start.
His two qualifying crashes, one of which was a high speed get-off through turn 12 that left him rolling through the gravel trap, meant that he had to settle for ninth on the grid.
"It wasn't ideal obviously to crash three times today! The bike felt great but unfortunately I just tried to ride too hard," said Smith. "For the first crash I locked the front into turn five and I think that I bottomed out the front forks and that caused the front to lock up. It was a shame because I think that I could have picked up the bike but something happened with the electronics and it just shut everything down.
"On the second run I had a front tyre with 18 or 19 laps on it so to come around only three tenths of a second off I was clearly over my limit! I was coming down the back straight and I was thinking to myself 'don't make any mistakes' but then I just thought 'screw it I'm going for it!' I wanted to get on the front row today and I was trying to do something that required far too much risk to do and I crashed. But in my heart it was worth taking that risk today but I know that I need to back it down and ride like I did in FP4 for the race tomorrow."
Smith has been hugely committed through Turn 12 all weekend and when explaining his second crash he said that that having that commitment and confidence generally is a sign that you're riding at the limit/
"I've got a lot of confidence in the bike and turn 12 is a place where I've been strong this weekend...unfortunately the reason that you're usually strong at any given corner is because you're riding near the limit. I had a good feeling through there and unfortunately I messed up and crashed. I know what I did and I know why I ended up on my backside. Unfortunately the boys will have a long night getting the bike fixed but I know where the limit is in myself but I just wasn't listening to it today."
For tomorrow's race Smith is now aiming for a top five finish rather than the podium that could have been a target based on his FP4 pace.
"I'm really happy with today because in FP4 Jorge was behind me and he didn't really take too much time out me. I've been super consistent all weekend and there's lots of positives to take from the weekend so far and I know why I crashed today but I need to try and take a step back for tomorrow's race.
"The podium isn't really a target for tomorrow now from ninth on the grid. I think that if I was starting on the front two rows I could have taken it as a serious goal but starting from ninth I've shot myself in the foot a little bit. I think that a top five is possible and not losing too many points on Dani is the goal and to try and stay in front of the Ducati's."