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Smith: Lorenzo got away lightly for "very similar" offence

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Smith: Lorenzo got away lightly for "very similar" offence
By:
Co-author: Lewis Duncan
Jun 20, 2019, 8:44 AM

Aprilia wildcard Bradley Smith says Honda rider Jorge Lorenzo "got away very leanly" for a Catalan Grand Prix crash that was similar to the one that earned Smith a grid penalty.

Smith was making the third of his five scheduled MotoGP wildcard appearances in 2019 in Barcelona when he fell at Turn 10 on the opening lap, colliding with fellow Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro.

A lap later, Lorenzo went down at the same corner, wiping out Andrea Dovizioso, Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi.

When asked about Lorenzo escaping a penalty for the crash, Smith said he accepted his own sanction but reckoned the three-time MotoGP champion's incident was analogous.

"I can't control what Race Direction do,” Smith said. “I think, and I feel, that what happened with me was very, very similar to what happened there [with Lorenzo].

“I took out one guy, Jorge managed to [take out three riders]. But also I fully understand the decision from race direction.

“I think Jorge got away very leanly, but I can't comment anything else."

Espargaro had to be taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a femoral fracture to his left leg, as well as a fracture of the fibula.

Smith, for his part, suffered "a fracture in the knuckle of my thumb" on his left hand, but was able to complete a full test programme with Aprilia in the post-race test.

Explaining the accident, which left him “heartbroken”, Smith says it was triggered when KTM's Johann Zarco lunged past Espargaro, leaving Smith with “nowhere to go”.

“I mean, that type of corner, as we saw the next lap, it's like a bottleneck unfortunately,” said Smith.

“It's like coming from two lanes into one, and especially if someone goes up the inside, the guy on the outside is a sitting duck, and has to reduce so much more speed.

“Unfortunately for me I tried to make a pass on [Miguel] Oliveira, which - he was already quite to the inside of the clean line and I was then forced onto the dirty part - everything was more or less under control until Zarco dived down the inside of Aleix.

“Aleix then had to stay wide and then I had nowhere to go. I did everything I could to avoid the accident.

“Obviously you can imagine my sheer panic when I realised I'm going to wipe out my own teammate, but there was just nowhere to go.”

While Espargaro appeared in good spirits and on good terms with Smith when he'd returned to the paddock on Monday, teammate Andrea Iannone had been vocally critical of the Briton.

Asked by Motorsport.com for his response to Iannone's criticsm, Smith said: "I mean, everyone's allowed their opinion. I prefer to take Aleix's one, and that's it."

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