Tech3 Mistral man Bradley Smith rode to a season-best fourth place in today’s Moto2 encounter at Mugello, fighting with the leading group for the whole race with a four mile per hour top speed disadvantage after breaking a new aerodynamic fairing top in qualifying yesterday.
His team had made two of the cowlings with new air intakes which helped the Oxfordshire copper-top with straight-line pace but the crash yesterday meant that it went in the bin and he was back to square one. Team-mate Xavier Simeon also had one, but he did the exact same thing.
Smith was able to stick with the leading group which comprised Andrea Iannone, Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro, Thomas Luthi and Takaaki Nakagami while Scott Redding was dropped off early on but then found pace in the later stages to make some progress.
As the laps clicked down, Espargaro started to pull out a lead, prompting Iannone to take Luthi for second and hunt down the Spaniard. Heading into the final two laps Iannone was on the Spaniard’s rear wheel, while Luthi made a mistake heading into turn one, but kept his place.
The Italian ultimately passed Espargaro into San Donato on the fast lap, prompting a thrillinglast lap. And it was Iannone who kept his nerve right up until the end to narrowly take the win, with Espargaro and Luthi completing the final spots on the rostrum.
Smith just couldn’t get past Luthi on the last lap but third is his best result of the season. Redding, meanwhile got the better of Nakagami on the final lap for sixth with Gino Rea slipping back to 19th after getting up as high as 17th.