Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith produced a determined performance at the gruelling ninth round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship to finish in 13th position in front of 93,000 passionate fans. The young Briton kicked off his campaign from the fifth row of the grid and undertook a solid start as he set about climbing through the pack. However, during the opening lap, Hernandez ran into Smith which caused the Briton to lose his left knee slider and therefore drop to the back of the field. Yet, Smith remained resolute and eventually pitted just after halfway through the GP. Here, he changed to his second bike with intermediate tyres and replaced the knee slider before commencing his recovery charge. The 25-year-old rode at an impressive pace on the drying line, but despite his best efforts and due to the distance lost in the first part of the race, he eventually crossed the finish line in 13th.
On the other side of the garage, Pol Espargaro suffered cruel misfortune in the tough German Grand Prix, after falling on lap 18 after pitting whilst pursuing a potential podium finish. The young Spaniard leapt forward from 5th on the grid, before completing the opening lap in 8th. He quickly stuck into his rhythm as he fought in a fiercely competitive group as a dry line began to appear on the track and Espargaro opted to pit on lap seventeen and switch to his second bike. Yet, shortly after re-joining the race, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion fell at the second corner, which marks a disappointing close to a promising weekend.
Position: 13th - Championship: 16th - Points: 35
"It goes without saying that it was a tough GP, but I did the best that I could in what was a tricky day of racing for me. On the opening lap, Hernandez hit me and knocked off my left knee slider. This would have been an issue in the dry, but in the wet, where the sliders are thicker, it was even more of a challenge. I made the call to pit and change to the bike with the intermediate tyres at the correct moment. Yet, we also had to put a new knee slider on in the pit lane and this had a knock-on effect. When I returned to the track, we had already lost a lot of time so it was damage limitation and I recovered a couple of places. It was a frustrating end to the weekend because the team deserve more than three points and of course I want to be fighting for the top independent position. However, one positive that we can take away from this weekend is that I had good pace on the intermediate tyres and I was one of the faster guys for a period. At the moment, we can’t seem to catch a lucky break, but I am fit and healthy as we go into the summer break so I will stay positive. I will work hard in the next three weeks in order to come back much stronger and therefore, be ready for the second half of the season."
Position: DNF - Championship: 6th - Points: 72
"It’s easy to admit that I am very disappointed about the race after the performance we have shown over the whole weekend. Unfortunately at the beginning of the Grand Prix, I didn't feel as comfortable as I did this morning because the conditions had changed quite a lot and the track was dryer. Therefore, I struggled a bit and lost a few positions in the opening part of the race. I was behind Marquez when we both decided to change bikes and I'm convinced this was the best strategy today, so in terms of tactics, I think we could have clinched second because Marc won the race with a huge gap. However, sometimes when you risk a lot and you are one of the first to do so, you take more of a chance than other people and mistakes can be made. Of course, it is a pity to close the first half of the season with our first DNF of the year, but at least we could keep 6th and the best satellite rider position in the Championship standings, which is our goal for the year. Now the calendar has three weeks off, but I won’t have as much rest as the other riders because I am heading to Japan to compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours race."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“We didn’t finish the first part of the season in the way that we wanted to as it was one of those tricky weekends for us in Germany. Clearly, the conditions could have helped us a lot but we didn’t make the most of it. Pol did a great job in the beginning of the Grand Prix and he was in the right group, plus he pitted at the correct time, along with the race winner. We knew that he had played the game well and it gave us a clear advantage over the rest of the field. Yet, unfortunately, he got too excited when he left the pits and he had Marquez on top of him, so sadly he crashed and couldn’t restart the bike. There was a big gap from Marquez to second and I think there was a very high possibility of a podium. We haven’t had a rostrum with Pol yet, even though he always does his best, so it’s a big shame for both him and us. In addition, he could have been the best Yamaha by far because the others waited too long in my opinion. On the other side of the garage, I have to be honest when I say that Bradley wasn’t very lucky during the whole weekend in Germany. He seemed to be struggling in the early part of the race, so we expected him to pit earlier. However, when he did change to the bike with intermediate tyres, his pace was strong and he managed to claw back two positions, but this isn’t exactly what we wanted to achieve. This is a weekend to forget, but I am sure that the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team can have a better time at the next round. I want to thank to the whole team for their efforts and I hope everyone has a happy holiday so that we can all come back fresh and motivated in Austria.”