Bradley Smith is philosophical about his best MotoGP season coinciding with a lack of factory opportunities.
Rides at the five official teams are all locked down until the end of 2016 with Smith, who capped his fifth in the world championship and top satellite status with a career best second last time at Misano, signing a one-year extension at Monster Yamaha Tech 3.
“It's tough for us satellite guys to be up there on the podium every weekend, but it's nice when it does happen and certainly it gives me more points to fight for fifth in the championship,” Smith said at Aragon on Thursday.
“To be honest I didn't expect to be in this [fifth] position. With nine or ten races to go I was still fifth, but realistically I was just trying to hold on to being the top satellite bike. But we've now done another five races and I'm still battling in there, so let's see what I can do in these final five races to hold onto that position.”
“It's been a very good year,” Smith continued. “I set what was for me a difficult goal; to be top satellite rider, especially after last season and looking at the other guys performances around me. But I've managed to achieve that, actually extend that goal a little bit further and surprise myself in many ways.”
Turning to the timing of the factory contracts, Smith said:
“Racing is racing and each contract comes in in different positions. I think I can say that if I would have put this performance in in any 'normal' year, you would have picked up a factory contact. But that isn't the case. I've done it this season and that means I have to continue and improve again next season. Then we'll see exactly what happens.
“The great thing is that I've got great familiarity on the Yamaha M1, also with the Monster Tech 3 team, we'll continue to work for our fourth year together [in 2016]. So I actually couldn't be in a better position going into next year. That's what I honestly believe.
“In terms of which factory I'd like to ride for in 2017, first of all it would be an honour to be considered for any of them because you are one of the two riders in the world that they chose to develop and to represent them as a company.
“We have to see which one would be the best option for me and my career and on next year's technical regulations.”
Smith - who won the Suzuka 8 Hours as part of Yamaha's Factory Team - is seven points ahead of Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso with five rounds to go.