BRADLEY SMITH: It's a tough time, but I'm definitely keeping faith

I share a joke with Lewis Hamilton at the weekend. The Formula 1 star was a guest of sponsors Monster

I share a joke with Lewis Hamilton at the weekend. The Formula 1 star was a guest of sponsors Monster

First published in Sport

WORDS cannot describe how I felt after finishing tenth on Sunday – but I’ve not worked this hard to give up.

However down you are, you just have to keep the faith after all the hard work and sacrifices you have made.

There are plenty of grands prix to go and there are so many positives, such as Friday afternoon and Monday.

It can be soul-destroying when you put so much effort into something and enjoy it as much as I do.

When you are doing something that you love – and to which you have dedicated your life – for it not to go right in the last five races is tough to take.

But I still love riding the bike and for the team.

Four days in Barcelona just about summed up everything – a great practice, decent qualifying, but another soul-destroying race.

I then did 75 laps of superb testing on Monday which we all needed.

I was just 0.042 seconds behind Marc Marquez which showed that I have the pace.

It illustrated just what could have been on Sunday and proved to myself what lap times I can achieve giving me that extra bit of reassurance because the season is far from over.

I’m not saying I’m as fast as those four front factory guys, but I promise you I’m the fifth one.

I honestly believe with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha I can be fifth every race because I’ve shown time and time again we do have the pace.

Monday’s test was so positive, as we achieved everything we set out to as well as clarifying a few mysterious problems from Sunday.

I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike, plus I did 75 laps with my fastest time at the end.

Our main focus of the day was to improve braking stability and the engine-braking situation – and we certainly achieved both of these.

It was good to remember how to lead a MotoGP practice session on Friday, with the last time in Qatar at the opening round.

Saturday morning practice was very good, but we missed something in qualifying and the tyre would only do one lap.

I was only around half a second from pole and everything was looking hunky-dory after I was sixth in the morning warm-up.

But when the action got under way, I realised we had a big problem when I went into turn four and two riders went up the inside of me.

It was a long 24 laps and the big disappointment was that our settings appeared to be bang on the money the whole weekend, but I just did not have the same grip coming from the rear despite keeping everything the same.

I was losing a second a lap to my warm-up time which I managed to reduce to half a second at the finish.

Sunday seems to be my bad day and perhaps I need to change my routine and get out of bed the other side or eat something different for breakfast.

The next race in Assen is the only Saturday grand prix of the season and we are banking on all those positives being channelled into the race and at least a fifth place.

I’m so lucky because the team have not stopped pushing so hard.

They are always right behind me and doing everything they can to make it right.

My disappointing race results can reflect on them, but they are doing nothing wrong. And they know, apart from the Mugello crash, I’m not doing anything wrong either.

I will fly straight out of Assen to arrive at Goodwood in time for the Ball, but the big day is Sunday.

I plan to ride Kenny Roberts’s 500cc World Championship winning two-stroke Yamaha up the hill. I hope also I will be wearing leathers and helmet in Kenny’s livery which will be an honour in itself.

It’s good to do fun things, but I’ll trade that for a result so we can shrug off the last three months and start smiling again.

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