The 2013 MotoGP World Championship campaign ended with mixed emotions for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Valencia this afternoon, with Bradley Smith racing to a hard fought seventh place in an enthralling season finale.
There was to be no fairy tale final appearance in the French-based squad though for Cal Crutchlow, who crashed unhurt on the 10th lap while he was in hot pursuit of the leading group in front of a capacity crowd of almost 105,000 fans.
Crutchlow moved into the top six with a pass on Smith on lap six and he immediately launched a fantastic charge towards the leading group of five. But his quest for a 13th top six finish of an outstanding third season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad was ended prematurely by a crash a third of the way into the 30-lap title decider.
Smith’s 13th top 10 finish of a hugely impressive rookie campaign never looked in any serious doubt thanks to his stunning early pace and he finished in a comfortable seventh.
Smith’s result concludes a fantastic final part of the 2013 campaign for the 22-year-old, who has finished inside the top eight in each of the last five races.
Today’s excellent display secured Smith a thoroughly deserved top 10 placing in the overall standings and he has made an invaluable contribution to ensuring the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team finished third in the Team World Championship rankings behind the Yamaha and Honda official factory teams.
Cal Crutchlow (DNF - 188 points): "The last race with my Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team didn't really go according to plan, I’m feeling probably more disappointed for the team than for myself. We had an engine failure this morning and could only manage to run two full laps, so we were going into the race a little blind with the setup we had wanted to try. But I had a good feeling with the bike and after passing Bradley, I tried to close the gap to the riders in front of me but unfortunately I touched the curb and lost the front.
We still made sure of fifth in the World Championship which was my target for this season, so I can’t be too upset with how this year went. I want to say thank you again to the whole team, we had three great years and a lot of good memories together. I learned a lot during my time with the team, but now it's time for me to move on to a new adventure."
Bradley Smith (6th - 116 points): "Another seventh place, 116 points in the World Championship Standing and third place in the team standings should actually make me happy at the end of my rookie season. The gap to the fastest guys is less than 30 seconds again, and that is a positive end to the weekend, and a really positive way to end the year.
I think we definitely showed good progress throughout the season and I want to thank my team for the amazing job they have done in teaching and helping me over the last 12 months in this really tough category. It has been a lot of fun as well and I'm really grateful to have such an experienced squad behind me. The next seasons starts on Tuesday already, and I'm really excited about it."