BRADLEY Smith struggled for grip as he missed out on the points for the first time this season.

The rider from Forest Hill finished 17th at the Czech MotoGP.

It saw him leapfrogged in the standings by Aprilia teammate Aleix Espargaro, who finished tenth in Brno.

While the Spanish rider qualified fourth quickest, Smith started down on the seventh row.

He made a solid start to stay in a group of riders battling for points.

But the 29-year-old then began to lose his way, before picking up closer to the chequered flag.

Smith, who is deputising while Andrea Iannone contests a ban, said: “The start and the early stages of the race were good and it was definitely nice to see Aleix so far out front.

“Unfortunately, my pace got worse after a few laps. Similar to what happened in Jerez (last month), I started battling with rear grip early on.

“In any case, finishing the race lets us gather more important data to help our project grow.

“It seems like we’ll have some new features to test from the next race, and that is very important.”

South Africa’s Brad Binder won the race for KTM.

The season now moves on to Austria, where the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg hosts a double-header, starting next weekend.