Wildcard entrant Stefan Bradl abode the Honda crashed in the opening lap of 2018 MotoGP Czech GP at Brno, taking with him Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and KTM’s Bradley Smith.
The incident took place in Turn 3 of the opening lap as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso led the way at the front from Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. Bradl, Vinales and Smith were shown in the gravel with their arms in the air.
The trigger point of the crash wasn’t caught by the cameras but riders around them spoke of Bradl trying to clear both Vinales and Smith at one go. However, the German insisted that he was hit from behind which resulted in the chain reaction.
“Unfortunately, I was just braking into Turn 3 with Vinales not far ahead when I felt a blow and then found myself in the gravel,” he said. “I looked around and saw that also Bradley was involved in the incident. Honestly, I didn’t understand exactly what happened.
“It’s a real shame because I had got a very good start and I’m sure I would have been able to recover some positions. Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of pain in my right shoulder. At the Medical Centre, examination luckily ruled out fractures, but the ligaments are quite stretched.”
Bradl added he wanted to see the footage to understand what happened, but there was none for him to see. Meanwhile, Smith said that it was Bradl who tried an inside line on him to gain track position and lost control in the braking.
“It was very frustrating but it has to be expected back there when everybody is jostling for position,” he said. “The whole weekend was super-tight again. I was braking into Turn3 and Stefan took a lunge up the inside and tucked the front.
“His bike slid into mine and then I slid into Maverick and we all went down.” KTM’s team manager Mike Leitner sided with his rider as well to blame Bradl for the mess up as they endured a terrible weekend after Pol Espargaro’s warm-up crash.
Smith managed to pick up the bike and continue on but retired later on. The same wasn’t the case with Vinales as his bike was in no condition to be ridden. The Spaniard had a tough weekend as well, especially with the speculated split with his crew chief.
“When I was already on the ground I was trying to pick up my bike, but it was too late,” he said. “I don’t know who made the mistake, but it’s lucky in any case that I don’t have any significant injuries. It was a difficult weekend, for sure.
“We found a new set-up in the Warm Up and I felt really good, so I was very enthusiastic about the race. We need to stay focused and keep doing our job. I think the crash was a consequence of starting from twelfth place, so we have to pay really close attention to which direction we follow with the set-up.”