MotoGP

Smith takes maiden MotoGP podium

First ever MotoGP podium finish for Brit Bradley Smith at Phillip Island

MONSTER Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith crossed the line in third at the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday, taking his first ever MotoGP podium.

The Brit started from fourth on the grid and made a break to keep in touch with the leading group. A few sketchy moments saw the 23-year-old drop down the order, but he managed to regroup with the chasing pack of six riders including Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez, Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro.

However, the chasing pack started to either fall or retire one-by-one, with Iannone, Marquez and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Smith’s team-mate Pol Espargaro all crashing out while Pedrosa and Aleix were forced to retire.

Luckily, Smith was able to avoid these incidents, including a collision between Iannone and Pedrosa at turn four and when Bradl clipped Aleix a few laps later at the very same corner.

The British rider was able to pull away from Ducati’s Andrea Doizioso and attempted to catch up with his 2013 teammate Cal Crutchlow, but Crutchlow and Pol both crashed out at turn four.

'It’s a crazy result really for me. I did a really good start and tried to push very hard, but I had some big moments,' said Smith.

'At one point I was going backwards pretty fast. I made some massive mistakes despite a good start. I calmed down a little and focused more. I ended up in the battle with five or six other riders, like Moto2 again. I just missed the incident with Bradl and Aleix that was close! I got a bit lucky to avoid that.'

Continuing, Smith explained: 'I saw my teammate and Cal both go down at Turn 4 in front of me. I didn’t even know I was third on the last lap. I crossed the line and it was just Jorge and Rossi ahead of me so I checked the big screen!

'I then started making some weird noises in my helmet, but it’s pretty special to have my first podium. A huge thank you to the team having faith in me enough to keep me this year and the next year.'

Smith now has 108 points in the Championship standings, placing him eighth. His podium finish came despite a penalty point for overtaking under yellow flags during the Australian Grand Prix.

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