“People that I've known for a long time have been helping me out which has been good. Juan and the sponsor have put a lot of effort in and this last year has gone really good.”
In the past six years it helped start the careers of world champions such as Bradl, Terol and Marquez and it has proven to be a truly competitive arena to hone your racing skills. Smith feels his few years racing in Spain have shaped his style.
“You can see it's a good breeding ground. You've got world-class tracks, the weather is perfect, and there are world-class riders in the CEV. The only fault is there are only seven races so you lack track time. Apart from that the competition is really good.”
Last year his main competition came from ex-World Championship riders Carmelo Morales and Xavi Forres, and regularly going up against the more experienced Spaniards has brought Kyle's race craft on significantly.
“Morales is not only fast, but he's super smart and never makes mistakes. He's really smooth and on the 1000 he knows how to conserve tyres. He is a step above everyone else.”
All in all, good preparation for what he will be up against this year.
His 2013 package is a mouth-watering one. Smith finds himself in a team that has previously run grand prix winners like Julian Simon and Scott Redding aboard the Kalex chassis that has won eight races in the past two seasons.
In Valencia last November he tested the 2012 Suter machine to get accustomed to the new class but has since found the Kalex more accommodating.
“It [the Suter] felt similar to a 125 GP bike, with a super chassis and the brakes were really good. You have to carry more corner speed, and not stop the bike as much in the corner. The Suter was stiffer, so the Kalex is easier to ride, and more comfortable, almost more like a road bike.”
Add to that he has an ex world champion sitting across from him in the garage. Surely a new team, bike and established teammate in your debut season must be somewhat daunting. Smith doesn't look at it that way.
“For me it's perfect. Toni is somebody who has massive experience [who can] help me out. In the contract it states that all the data is shared, which might not be that much help as his style is so different to mine.