MotoGP Assen: Smith ‘racing into the unknown’ on return

| | MotoGP
Picture: WithU GRT RNF

Bradley Smith completed his first MotoE race of the season at the Assen TT Circuit on Saturday after returning from injury.

With just ten minutes of preparation, in wet conditions, to reacquaint himself with the WithU GRT RNF machine and the 4.6km track on Friday before the electric class was sent straight into qualifying, Smith secured eighth on the grid.

The Brit lined up two places behind his teammate, Niccolo Canepa, with the pair circulating together for the majority of the afternoon’s eight lap race. A brief jostle for position found the 31-year-old ahead of the Italian as the race unfolded before Canepa hit back at the halfway stage as the number 38 suffered with tyre issues. Smith met the flag in eighth, five seconds from winner Dominique Aegerter and narrowly ahead of 2021 Champion Jordi Torres.

“The first race back was always going be difficult,” Smith acknowledged from Assen. “I was racing into the unknown.

“I’ve not done a race this season and you have to manage the tyres in MotoE, as they are different than the ones I used in the past. The behaviour is a little bit different.

“Anyway, to improve 1.4 seconds on the lap time and my opening four laps overall were good. Then we got a little bit high with the tyre temperature and with the tyre pressure.

“To finish in front of the reigning World Cup Champion [Jordi Torres] in my first race back was positive. Tomorrow we want to improve, but considering everything, I was there in the opening laps, so we have to be pleased.”

Picture: WithU GRT RNF
Picture: WithU GRT RNF