MOTORSPORT: Track form inspires Smith in pursuit of an Italian job

The Oxford Times: Bradley Smith signs autographs for the fans as the paddock girls look on Bradley Smith signs autographs for the fans as the paddock girls look on

Bradley Smith is hoping his solid record at Mugello will stand him in good stead for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM tomorrow.

The 23-year-old MotoGP star, from Forest Hill, near Oxford, won at the track from pole position in 2009 when riding in the 125cc class.

He was also third in 2011 on the Tech3 Moto2 bike, and his fourth-place finish the following year was his best result of the season.

In his first year in MotoGP in 2013, he finished ninth as Jorge Lorenzo claimed victory.

Smith, who is ninth in the championship standings for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team behind leader Marc Marquez, will be looking to step up on his tenth-placed finish in France last time out.

He said: “After a tricky race at Le Mans I am ready and excited for Mugello which is one of my favourite tracks.

“I really like the nature of the circuit plus Yamaha is the most successful MotoGP manufacturer at this track, so we must feel confident.

“The crowd is always amazing, also the track is fantastic so I am ready to fight for success.”

Smith’s weekend got off to a slippery start with a minor downpour of rain leading to him sitting out second practice.

He was expecting to improve on his time in first practice, which saw finish tenth with a best lap of 1min 49.03secs – just over a second off the pace set by Marquez.

Smith said: “I am pretty happy with how things went this morning, and we have definitely improved a lot with certain aspects of the bike since Le Mans.”

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