MotoGP newcomers KTM haven’t had the best season with their British rider – but that won’t stop them from backing him on in 2018.
It says a lot when a team chooses to stick with their riders – even if they’ve been under-performing. Undoubtedly solicited on all sides by younger riders who are desperate for a chance to test their mettle among the ranks of the world’s best, KTM will certainly have options.
With this in mind, it’s incredible to see the team electing to stand behind their rider, Bradley Smith.
Smith hasn’t turned in the best performance during his first season atop KTM’s entry machine in the realm of MotoGP. Thus far, he’s managed to remain only three points ahead of KTM test rider Mika Kallio – who has been KTM’s wildcard test rider with only three starts to his name in 2017.
For many, such a result would be reason enough to toss out the old and in bring in the new, but KTM have something different in mind. It seems that whatever Bradley has been up to behind the scenes has more than made up for his lack of performance out on the track:
“KTM has supported Bradley Smith from the very first test on the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike in Valencia 2016.
He has fitted into the team well and has worked hard at every test, practice and race as a new motorcycle is developed with new parts coming into the garage for every race.
The team wants to confirm that 2018 will remain as committed to Smith as before as we both look forward to bettering results and lap times.
He is a Grand Prix winner and a podium man over the three classes of Grand Prix racing he’s contested, something that KTM wishes to repeat with an orange motorcycle underneath him.” – KTM MotoGP
A rare occurrence, but a heartening one to be sure. Smith is far from a mediocre rider. He’s proven himself to be far beyond capable atop a bike before, and one could argue that he’s not had the chance to have a stable platform yet.
As KTM stabilizes development on their MotoGP challenger, we will undoubtedly see Smith shake off the cobwebs and turn in constant performances. If not… well, let’s just say that Mika is never too far off.