News 22 Jun 2011

Leigh-Smith scores 11th at Catalunya round of Spanish Moto2 series

Aussie Blake Leigh-Smith was 11th in the third round of Spanish Moto2 last weekend.

Aussie Blake Leigh-Smith was 11th in the third round of Spanish Moto2 last weekend.

Australian’s Blake Leigh-Smith has finished a credible 11th in the round three of the 2011 Spanish Moto2 World Championship series at Catalunya.

After an interrupted practice day on the Friday, where multiple red flagged sessions cruelled any chance of significant development on his 2011 FTR M211 Honda powered machine, Leigh-Smith was able to qualify in 18th position on a day where the domestic series times matched those of the current Moto2 field.

Race day Sunday started badly when a slipping clutch prevented the Aussie 125GP champ from being able to put the morning warm up to good use.

For some this would be a bad omen, but in these circumstances Blake, like many Aussie racers before him, decided to ‘run what he brung’ and simply grind out a good result.

It was a simple and effective strategy. After a fantastic start, he was able to work his way inside the top ten and challenge for 8th position for much of the race.

“I wasn’t really able to get into a rhythm,” Leigh-Smith said. “Every time I thought I was starting to find that much needed rhythm, someone would be trying to show me a wheel or shoving it up the inside on a corner. I felt like I was battling everyone the whole time. It was both daunting and awesome!”

As the laps wound down, a top 10 result looked likely, even with five other riders challenging at every turn. During the last lap, the extreme competitive nature of the Spanish Moto2 series took a serious turn.

“On the last lap, I made a move into to get into ninth while another rider was trying to out-brake me,” Leigh-Smith said. “He was sideways and Ii just saw him out of the corner of my eye. I managed to miss him but he went on to hit the rear wheel of the bike in front.

“As all of that went down and I had no choice but to back off to survive. Naturally, this allowed two riders past me and with only three corners to go I could not make up the gap.”

Leigh-Smith finished 11th only 0.5 behind eighth. Despite not finishing inside the top 10, there were many positive signs for the young Australian rider. His fastest lap of the race was 1.50.2- faster that his qualifying and the fastest lap ever set by the FTR chassis.

With some work to do, the team are none the less highly up beat, knowing the chassis and rider are set for bigger things as the season rolls on.

The next round of the CEV will see the riders hit the Albacete Circuit in South Eastern Spain from 8-10 July.