Bradley Smith had his best qualifying of year since the season opening Qatar Grand Prix with the Tech3 rider making the most of a difficult qualifying session which saw rain fall from the outset and riders forced to find gaps in traffic to set a time.
For the Smith the session was “The stupidest thing that I’ve seen in my life” with the 12 riders in QP2 all leaving the pits almost together and the start of the twenty minute session looking more like a race than a qualifying session. For Smith the opening minutes were more reminiscent to a disco rather than a race track:
“We were like a group of ten or eleven guys checking out one girl at a nightclub,” joked Smith. “All of us were waiting and seeing who’d make the move! It wasn’t actually all that bad, Aleix made the perfect plan and waited but even he got held up in the last sector. We all just looked at each other way too much so it’s an opportunity missed.
“I thought that I was being smart and I rolled off quite a lot at the end of my first flying lap because I could see that noone was going fast but on the second lap everyone rolled off and even though I’d rolled off them by two seconds I got caught up in it. I’m gutted because it’s a missed opportunity and I needed to be smarter.”
When asked by Crash.net if Smith would have rolled off as much if he was in a disco the 23 year old quickly dismissed any chance of waiting, “I would have gone straight in, I’m not shy!”
Those opening minutes of the QP2 session saw some hectic riding from Marc Marquez with the Spaniard putting hard moves on some riders during the outlap in a bid to get to the front and have clear track to set his time. When asked for his thoughts on what he saw from the middle of that pack of riders Smith said:
“Marc was being Marc and he thought that if we were all riding slowly that he’d just overtake us. It was really bad because the conditions weren’t as bad as we were riding. Everyone was just sitting behind Marc and Jorge and waiting. Once Marc did something we all went wide open and then when he rolled off everyone else rolled off as well. I got through sector one quickly, got held up in sector two by a couple of guys off line, in sector three I got past Bautista and then in sector four I snuck in the middle of everyone. It was an embarrassing session and I can’t believe that MotoGP riders let that happen.”
“You had to bag a lap, no matter how you did it and who held you up, you had to set a time. I was happy because I aborted my first lap and then got a time before the rain came down. I was really down afterwards because in opportunities like that you have to be first or second because if you’re on the front row tomorrow you can look in really good shape because in the first five laps you jump the other riders and are racing with Marc and Dani around you. That’s what I’m angry about but I can still get into the top four at turn one and work from there.”