Bradley Smith predicts it could take six months for the new factory KTM MotoGP team to fully gel together.

The Englishman will end a six-year Tech 3 career at Valencia on Sunday before trying the RC16 for the first time at next week's test.

"Even 1% is huge inside of racing. So all those relationships [inside a team] - clicking, gelling, getting that confidence, inspiration, little relationships that you've got - add up. I would say it's a good six months before you actually feel that you're all coming together.

"The same with a new bike; it does take a good amount of time before you're actually into it and you're starting to ride naturally. Because you're going to have to ride in a completely different way than I have in the last four years with this new motorcycle.

"And this is world class racing: you have to ride naturally; it has to come automatically. You can't think at 360 km/h, 'I need to do this, or I need to do that'. It has to happen before you can think. And those things take a while.

"For the rider, mentally and physically it's quite hard for the first six months, but then after that, you just settle in."

Smith's adaption will be complicated by his ongoing recovery from a serious knee injury during a World Endurance appearance in August, but insists he'll be risking as much as ever this weekend.

"The whole reason from day one of being in the hospital bed was to try and get back for Valencia if I could, to try and say thanks, and go out strong for the team," Smith said. "Everything has been building up towards it, I don't know if it is going to end in an anticlimax.

"My head tells me I can be competitive, and I am going to try and fight for top satellite if I can. It's a track that I like, so I think that's where my mentality is at.

"This season hasn't been a great one for me in terms of results, and luck, and injuries and whatnot. But I still want to battle through all of that and put that last chapter as a positive one, and say goodbye to everyone."

Smith believes he will then be back to full fitness in time for the start of 2017 testing.

"It won't be this year, but I'm pretty certain that by the day we first start riding in Sepang, I'll be fit and healthy in terms of riding MotoGP," he said. "I'd say I'm probably another four or five weeks away from being where I need to be with this injury. So hopefully December 1st I'll be back to my normal training regimes."

Team-mate Pol Espargaro is also switching from Tech 3 to KTM, which is competing as a wild-card this weekend.



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