Smith pens factory KTM deal for 2017

Published: 20 March 2016

As predicted by MCN, Bradley Smith will become a factory MotoGP racer for the 2107 and 2018 season, after penning a deal with KTM to lead the Austrian manufacturer’s entry into the series next season.

Smith has dropped hints for some time about his interest in KTM’s new RC16 machine, and after admitting earlier this week that he had been told by the Tech 3 Yamaha squad that he wouldn’t be remaining with them for next season.

However, speaking exclusively earlier in the year to MCN, Smith admitted then that the time was right to move on anyway, with a factory seat the main target.

“Realistically, the manufacturers I want interest from are Suzuki and Ducati – and you also have to be open towards KTM. They have limited experience, but everything they’ve turned their hand to, they’ve been successful at.

“You have to be smart about some things, keep you ear to the ground and maybe be prepared to take a risk others aren’t prepared to. If it pays off, you look like a hero – hence my Misano podium last season!”

However, the move is likely to bring one sting in the tail for Smith, with it looking likely that his long-time relationship with energy drink Monster will be a casualty of KTM’s close links with fellow Austrian company Red Bull.