At the close of a year of trials and tribulations, Bradley Smith has expressed his pleasure at reversing his fortunes and believes the manner in which he ended the MotoGP season showed, in terms of results, he is now 'where I need to be'.

In KTM’s first full year in the premier-class, Smith found himself under increasing pressure from factory management to improve on results, with test rider Mika Kallio rumoured to be in-line to replace the Englishman for 2018.

However, a September test after the Grand Prix of Aragon set the wheels in motion, allowing Smith to assess several key parts that made him feel more at home aboard the RC16.

The results soon followed.

Smith was competitive in the Japanese rain before a spirited top-ten finish at Phillip Island. The year’s final competitive outing at Valencia was further confirmation of those recent gains.

On a day when team-mate Pol Espargaro and wild-card Kallio both crashed out, Smith's five points for eleventh place were enough to elevate the factory above Aprilia to fifth in the constructors' championship - a fine achievement for a new bike and team that appear determined to maintain momentum going forward.

“Let’s be honest: you sit there after 14 races and you say, ‘If it hasn’t happened in 14 races, what are the final four going to do?’ I managed to turn it around. I’m not one of those guys to give up on anything. I can’t tell you why it took as long as it did or what was really the key factor,” he told at Valencia.

“Certainly the Aragon test was a step forward for us. I had this gut feeling with a couple of the parts that I decided to take to the flyaway races. Although I only tried them for five laps, I knew they were the ones that I needed.

“I managed to turn around what was a difficult season into something that was at least finishing strong and where I need to be. I finished the Valencia Test 0.1s from my team-mate. I was 0.6s off one of the factory Yamahas. We’ll take that.”

Smith had been full of emotion after the season-ending race, a result that was made all the sweeter by the presence of the KTM’s board in the garage. It was, said the 27-year old, a chance to remind them of his capabilities.

“I think just the fact that I managed to get the points that actually clinched fifth in the constructor’s championship, you know? That’s a goal for us. Those types of things make a difference and they do matter,” said Smith.

“The fact that I kept a couple of really strong Hondas behind me for the best part of 20 laps of the race, I’ll take that. Again, it showcased what I should be able to do and what I can do. I’m really pleased with everything that came together.

“It was nice to show the board. The board was all here at the weekend – all the big bosses. It was nice to show them who they signed is here and isn’t going away anytime soon.”


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“I think just the fact that I managed to get the points that actually clinched fifth in the constructor’s championship, you know? That’s a goal for us. Those types of things make a difference and they do matter,” said Smith.

Duh, very wise for you to say that dumb dumb. 55 vs 29 points, who gave more contribution?

Ah you reckon the Motogp rider in the works KTM team who's just moved from tax exile in Andorra to Monaco is a "dumb dumb" you've got high standards ?

Unfortunately Bradders, in this business, the first place you need to finish is ahead of your team mate.

Good luck for next year. You'll need to deliver.

KTM wants to give a vaguely competitive bike to Marquez. They will happily sacrifice your seat unless you deliver strong results.

I think what helped turn it around was the team expressing confidence in him and telling him his seat was safe for next year. He was looking much more vulnerable before that. 

It was a reasonable season for Brad. The bike is improving all the time and he will be in the mix for the top ten next year mixing it with everyone apart from the Alians. Not sure what else people expect him to acheive?

Good luck to him he deseves it - wouldn't mind moving to Monaco myself - just a bit short on the necessary....

So he didn't beat his team mate, neither did Pedrosa, again! Or Rossi for that matter, or Lorenzo. Obviously they aren't good enough so should be dumped if the only criteria is beating ones team mate! Bradley did ok in the end, and where he lives is irrelevant, we would all like to live in Monaco given the chance!

he said the bike was going from top 12 to top 6 next year !   not with him on it it's not.

I think, he did good. It could be better, not doubt about it. But, seriously, he had a pression several races, as he didnt knew, if he will be on KTM still in 2018. We can say all what we want, that he is professional, he is on top stage, but if you dont have confidence and your team behind you, you starting think a lot and the thinking cost the concentration at least. Best luck for him in 2018, his smooth riding style and the position on the bike is a pleasure to watch.

Hmmm, a bit of a hollow statment. Brad did ok this year, allegedly without the same level of support Pol enjoyed. The race against your most important oppent (you team mate) starts in week 1 and ends in the final race. Season long it didn't look that impressive. Hopefully he will continue where he left off in 2018. 

I am a fan and a biased Brit, but even I admit he is in the last chance saloon. Brad can't afford to do anything other than live up to his prediction. I believe he can.