MotoGP Austria: Smith ‘okay after crash but still missing feeling’

| | MotoGP
Picture: WithU GRT RNF

WithU GRT RNF’s Bradley Smith had a difficult first day in Austria after a crash in MotoE’s wet morning practice.

Having only returned from injury just last time out at Assen, Smith is still adapting to this year’s FIM Enel MotoE World Cup and the WithU team in just his second round of the season.

Despite the turn one crash at the end of FP1, the Brit finished 11th in the wet first session before improving his pace across the lunchtime FP2. However, continuing to struggle with a lack of mechanical grip he concluded free practice in P16 and facing the Q1 fight.

Putting a positive spin on the extra session, due to his need for valuable track time, the 31-year-old improved again in the late afternoon session, finding eight-tenths of a second. But it was not enough for promotion in the experienced field, seeing him line up on the sixth row for Saturday’s six-lap race.

“The good thing is that I’m okay after this morning because crashing with those bikes like we saw with [Alessio] Finello and another couple of guys this year is quite scary, so I’m happy to be in one piece,” Smith acknowledged from Spielberg.

“I feel at least today we found a little better direction with the bike, especially regarding the amount of track time we had this year, but I’m still missing the same thing I’m missing every weekend so far; I’m missing this feeling, the mechanical grip I had in 2019.

“Normally I’m a rider who is good on the brakes and for the moment it’s my weakest point. Starting from the back tomorrow makes my life harder but maybe I can find some overtaking possibilities.

“Anyway, we give it a good try tomorrow and we’ll see what happens. 0.8 between FP2 and Q1 improvement, but we needed double to be competitive. Let’s see how tomorrow goes.”

Picture: WithU GRT RNF