BRADLEY Smith claimed a point for Aprilia despite struggling with a lack of grip at the opening MotoGP race of the season.

The rider from Forest Hill, who is deputising while Andrea Iannone contests a ban, was 15th at Jerez in Spain.

It came after he made a flying start from the sixth row of the grid, making up five places in the opening lap.

Smith then found life difficult, but he was not the only one in sweltering conditions.

Teammate Aleix Espargaro crashed out, while world champion Marc Marquez was another to fall – suffering a broken arm in the process – as Fabio Quartararo won the race.

In that context, plus the fact the coronavirus pandemic had limited the amount of time teams had spent developing the bike, Smith was satisfied with the result.

He said: “The goal was to do all 25 laps of the race in order to gather fundamental data on the reactions of this new bike.

“I started very well, but staying in the slipstream of a lot of other riders straight away created quite a few problems for me.

“The tyre temperature and pressure was off the charts and I didn’t have much grip at all.

“This will have to be our main focus for our work next weekend.

“We don’t have any experience with this bike, but every time we go out we learn something new and I have full confidence in the guys at Aprilia.”