Bradley Smith believes he has “started to feel better and better” over the past few races after securing a best result in KTM colours at Misano, and will feel as though “everything is coming together” if he can carry that form through to this weekend's race at Aragon.

Having shown good pace through free practice at Misano, Smith scored a solid tenth place in his first full wet race for KTM. Crucially, he came home ahead of team-mate Pol Espargaro for the first time when the pair have finished a MotoGP race this season. The eleven points they scored was also the best overall haul for the Austrian factory in a race this year.

The Englishman was well aware of the pressure under which he was operating after tough races in Austria and England, and had previously stated the upcoming race at Aragon, where test rider Mika Kallio will wildcard, carries great importance.

Smith feels the race weekend at Misano was a step in the right direction, however. “You always want things to come together, and even more so, it needs to come together in the dry,” he said after the outing on the Adriatic coast.

“Certainly in the last couple of races, I’ve started to feel better and better. Here, I didn’t quite nail the qualifying lap but felt I was quite competitive in FP4. Then in the rain I was able to transform that into a point scoring finish.

“It’s nice that we’ve got two days of data in our back pocket going into Aragon. That certainly helps. It’ll be great to have all three riders back out on track and see the progress we’ve made even just through the last weeks compared to the test there in the summer break. Let’s see how we finish the weekend there. If we carry on working the way that we are at the moment then I feel everything is coming together.”

Referencing the double point-scoring result for KTM, Smith continued: “Looking at the manufacturer championship, we’re only five points behind Aprilia. That’s quite good for us to see going into the remainder of the season. If we could continue to fight with them until the end, that’d be good fun. As a team, that gives us a target to focus on until the end of the year.”

Speaking of the KTM RC16’s performance in wet conditions, Smith added, “In general, it was always going to be a difficult race starting from 22nd. The spray and everything back there was really tough to see in the opening laps. We already knew it was going to be greasy. When you see 23 guys crashing in both classes it makes you nervous.

“I got an OK feeling through the race. As the track dried I was able to go faster. My last three laps I did a couple of 48s, which was competitive enough. It just required the track to be too dry to get the grip from the tyres. It’s been a good experience for us to understand and do a full race in wet conditions.

“In general it’s nice to have a good Sunday. We finished one minute behind which means we have a lot of work to do – that’s over two seconds per lap. But it means we had good feeling from the motorcycle. We knew when we didn’t have grip and we knew when we did. And we knew how to bring it home, which is more than a few of the other guys.

“We [Pol and I] were pretty much on the same part of the track yet again. It seems that, although there were different settings from my and Pol’s side, the bike was doing similar lap times. It’s for the guys to now dissect and see the direction for the future in a wet race. 57s back at the end of a wet race, for our very first one, I don’t think it’s too bad.”



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