Bradley Smith has expressed his pleasure at the news he will continue in KTM’s MotoGP race team for 2018, saying, “It’s nice that’s all out of the way”, and is fully focused on improving his performances in the final four rounds.

“The ball is rolling in the right direction,” said Smith of the past few weeks, and described his feeling at a test at Aragon, in which he posted 160 laps over two days, as “really good”.

Smith sampled the altered chassis that team-mate Pol Espargaro and factory test rider Mika Kallio raced at Aragon, as well as some other new components, in the week that followed the race.

That, along with the confirmation from the factory that he will remain in the race team for ’18, meant the Englishman is approaching the Japanese Grand Prix in an upbeat frame of mind.

On the news he will see out the second of his two-year deal, Smith said, “[It’s] Nice to stop you guys having to ask questions, stop the awkwardness of having to answer them, and start hopefully talking about the improvements and the positives and the results of the day, rather than anything else.

“In terms of the team, it's also easier, because I think questions were coming left, right, and center, which makes it an awkward situation for everybody. Because nobody really knows 100% where they stand except for the big bosses. We're all just here doing our job.

“We believe we know what's happening, but then, when some people ask us as much as they do, then it's difficult. So it's nice that that's all out of the way and we can concentrate on these final four races, we can concentrate also on going into the winter tests in Valencia and Jerez.

“It was always clear that Mika [Kallio – KTM test rider] was going to be doing the wildcard in Valencia, and these final four races we can just work on some better performance. The ball is rolling in the right direction, and we just need to keep it going and do some good lap times and do some good race performances.”

On the Aragon test, Smith said, “I felt really good. We tried a lot of things to try and gain a bit of direction, some of them having already been tested by the other guys, some of them brand new things to us.

“To be honest, we just tried to do as much as we possibly could, really to gain as much information as possible in case we need them these next four races. I can't say we've got everything here, but in case we need them.

“And finding the things that are touching my issues, and giving me the confidence, and just really also working on myself, working on how to get the best out of this bike, and ride it in the way it needs to be ridden. Aragon, I believe we did like 160 laps there in two days, so plenty of information gathered.

“For me, the more laps I do, the more I figure it out, the better. So hopefully it's about time, 14 races in, that I start doing that on the racetrack as well.”

On the package he has available for this weekend, and whether it differs from what Espargaro is running, he added, “Like I said, some of the stuff, we had already tried, other stuff was completely brand new.

“So we have the best of what I've got at the moment within our toolbox, of what I feel most comfortable on, so I'm pleased with the progress that we've made.”



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