Fans' favourite Bradley Smith has acknowledged that weeding out the little mistakes that compromised his 2009 challenge for 125cc World Championship glory will be critical if he is to successfully achieve his objective of going one place better than the runner-up spot he claimed last year twelve months on.
Last season, Smith finished second to Bancaja Aspar Aprilia team-mate Julián Simón in the title standings, leading the way early on before consecutive errors in the German and British Grands Prix at the Sachsenring and Donington Park respectively in mid-summer cost the popular Oxfordshire teenager dear and handed the momentum to the Spaniard.
Conceding the lead – and victory – to Simón in two of the last three races of the campaign also did little to aid his cause, but as he heads into 2010 now a stronger and more confident competitor, Smith is adamant that he will not be found guilty of making the same mistakes again.
“Regardless of how I want to look at it or try to take off some of the pressure, if we expect to go into the championship with the aim of winning then we are already in that mindset,” he affirmed. “For sure it's not going to be easy, but winning is the plan – and I'm really looking forward to whatever happens.
“[Staying at Aspar] is putting myself back into exactly what I know. Moving teams is always difficult, simply because the people in your new team won't really know you and you won't know them. It takes a while to gel together.
“It's just a case of getting back on it again and keeping focussed. I've got to try to iron out the kind of mistakes I made last year like at the Sachsenring and Donington, and try to be as close to the front in every race as much as I can. At the end of the season, the one who has been the most consistent will be the one who comes out on top.”
That much is incontrovertible, but one change for Smith and all of his fellow 125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP riders this time around will be the fact that Silverstone has taken over Donington's mantle as his 'home' outing. Whilst the first time he will get to truly experience the new 'Arena Grand Prix' layout that was designed specifically with bike racing in mind will be on the 'MotoGP 09/10' Xbox 360 game, the 19-year-old clearly already has high hopes for it.
“It's great to see the amount of effort Silverstone is putting into this,” he enthused, before quipping: “It's somewhere that we can bring the moaning Spaniards and Italians in MotoGP and feel proud of! It's going to be one of the fastest and longest circuits on the calendar, and the 125cc race will be like a freight train down the long straights! It's certainly going to be a very technical race.”