Bradley Smith completed a notable weekend at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in 6th position aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. As the 28 lap battle commenced under glorious sunshine at the legendary Le Mans circuit, Smith undertook a strong start and fought his way through an intense first lap to hold on to his qualifying position of 6th. The young British rider tailed the leading riders before successfully catching and overtaking Marquez on lap five and then opening a gap on him. Smith’s formidable race rhythm and consistent lap times kept him in a fast pace and with half race distance reached, the 23 year old was running in 5th position. With 8 laps remaining, Smith had impressively closed the deficit to Andrea Iannone and was involved in a memorable and fierce fight for 4th position. Smith stayed right in the hunt and eventually finished the race in 6th but just a hair’s breadth back from Marquez and Iannone. This result puts him as the leading satellite rider at the round five battle and sees him now only one point behind 6th place in the riders championship standings.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro rode a strong race to overhaul five riders and finish in 7th position after a challenging qualifying which saw him start the 28 lap race from 12th on the grid. The young Spaniard undertook a solid start to clinch 9th at the close of the first lap at the Le Mans circuit. He pushed onwards and continued to clock fast and continuous lap times and was running in 8th with five laps completed. The 2014 MotoGP rookie of the year remained focused and at half race distance was in 7th place having scored some competitive lap times to gap the chasing riders. He met the chequered flag in this position, marking a positive close to a tricky weekend. Espargaro now looks positively on to Mugello for round six of the MotoGP World Championship where he will intend to battle for the leading satellite position.

   
Bradley Smith
Position : 6th Championship : 7th  points : 46

Bradley Smith - 2015 "I am happy and it was a great way to end the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s home race! The track conditions really warmed up today, which meant that we all went a bit into the unknown as it was much cooler on the other days. Therefore our setting was slightly limited at the beginning of the race because it resulted in me tucking the front a few times in the opening laps. However, to end up fighting with the reigning MotoGP World Champion and with another factory rider is where we want to be so I have to be happy with finishing as the leading satellite bike. We’ve also gained some championship points on Cal, so we have accomplished what we set out to achieve. Of course, it would have been even better to reach 4th but at one point I thought that Marc and Andrea may collide, so I gave myself enough space in case they did! Anyway, it was useful for me to watch this battle as I learnt a lot and I can use this knowledge in future races."

Profil

 

Pol Espargaro
Position : 7th Championship : 8th  Points : 35

Pol Espargaro - 2015 "After the race that we had here last year, I came to Le Mans with high expectations, so today can just be considered as damage limitation. We had a tough weekend from the word go and my feelings with the bike were never at their best. Yet, this morning in warm up we modified the setting of my M1 completely and to be honest things improved considerably for the race. My start was ok and I was able to follow the riders at the front during the opening laps, but then I had to sustain the gap to the riders behind me, due to another, non bike related issue. So to leave France with nine additional points in the championship is not too bad, although it’s definitely not what we aim for. We now have to think about the next steps to take in order to improve our performance in Mugello in two week’s time."

Profil

 

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :

"It was an amazing race, I am delighted with both riders and what they achieved today. Brad had an incredible weekend and topped it off with a good finish. Across all three days he was fast, consistent and made no mistakes and from the start until the finish flag, he gave 100% plus, it was an incredible moment when we saw him catch and then open a gap on Marquez. The race then went quite, but he didn’t give up and we saw him easily close down Iannonne so we thought we had 4th in the bag. However, in the end it was a great battle between those three riders and definitely the best fight in the race. To finish behind Marquez and Iannone as well as the first non factory bike was mission accomplished plus we were right in the mix. I want to say thanks to Brad for showing his determination and staying cool plus, without doubt, he learnt a lot. Pol had a strong race compared to the qualifying yesterday and turned his weekend around to get a decent result from 12th on the grid. He set off well, overtook three riders in the first lap and continued to make good progress through the field. In the second half of the race he could see that he wasn’t going to catch the guys in front, so he did his best to the keep the gap to the chasing rider. It was a great day for motorcycle racing in France and for us at our home race, as we managed to close the gap to Repsol Honda in the team championship standings where we are now just behind 3rd position by three points. I also want to congratulate Yamaha for their outstanding performance at Le Mans." 

 

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