Bradley Smith is confident he can make a seamless transition from the current KTM to the updated version but warns the Austrian squad ‘can’t take any unnecessary risks’ in its development plan.

With Smith acting as the sole Red Bull KTM rider at its home round in Spielberg, the British rider secured a points finish with 14th place having spent the opening stages of the race battling against factory Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales plus Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

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Having used the upgraded KTM engine - previously fitted to injured test and wild-card rider Mika Kallio's bikes - during free practice and qualifying in Brno, Smith reverted to his standard RC16 package in Austria due to technical problems, then kept the standard spec in Austria. However he is eager to push forward with the new specification for his home race at Silverstone.

It is believed the key modification with the new engine is a counter-rotating crankshaft, while some say it is already incorporated in the original 2018 engine, along with a number of unconfirmed chassis changes.

Smith says if he is able to use the upgraded KTM RC16 engine in Silverstone he can use ‘pretty much identical settings’ from the standard bike raced in Austria, but is uncertain whether his team will make the move to the upgraded package.

“If it is possible then the guys will bring everything they possibly can,” Smith said. “Of course, we’ve had the opportunity to try it and I know it is more in the direction of my riding style but until it is 100% ready we can’t take any unnecessary risks.

“The great news is we can make it transfer right across [to the new] bike, which works with pretty much identical settings. It's a case of everything I am doing at the moment [on the standard bike] is working towards making that better.

“The more I can improve the more I can get up the front and the better it will be for us in the long term. We had a fantastic weekend this weekend and let’s see what I can do at Silverstone.”

Smith missed out on points at his home round 12 months ago, finishing 17th but 15 seconds off the top 15, while team-mate Pol Espargaro produced an impressive 11th place result.

KTM is yet to confirm who will join Smith at the British round as the team waits to assess Espargaro’s recovery from a nasty spine injury and broken collarbone sustained at Brno last weekend.



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