2017 has seen a very different start to the season for Bradley Smith, as he and teammate Pol Espargaró handed over the chance to battle for podium positions on the Tech 3 Yamahas to Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger for a new project; turning KTM’s brand new RC16 machine into a race winner.
That means that it’s also going to be a very different British Grand Prix for Smith this year, with the 26-year-old honest in his assessment that they’re unlikely to be troubling the sharp end of the field come Sunday’s race.
“I think at the end of the day we just need to keep working this year, and then we enjoy the moment when the time is right. We’re having to put in the groundwork this year, and it’s not extremely rewarding – but at some point I am going to get to see and enjoy that. All of the difficult moments will soon disappear then. I can see that the project ahs so much potential, and I really hope that I’m still around to enjoy its heyday. We’re still outperforming where we should be considering we’re still only ten races in, but at a track like Silverstone it is going to be tricky with our bike.
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“For now, that means that I need to just keep my head down and work, but that’s helped by the fantastic job being done by the other boys. Cal is doing what he needs to do up front, and I just need to wait my turn. It takes the pressure off me in a way, but people also expect you to do well – and I still have a teammate on the other side of the garage pushing me forward.”
However, while he might not be out to set the world alight, he’s still adamant that he’ll make the most of a very special weekend, especially after a potentially career-ending injury only twelve months ago denied him the chance to line up in front of his fans.
“I think more than anything, it’s just going to be nice to be on the grid at Silverstone this year, after what I went through last year and missing out on the opportunity to ride there. I missed that one special Grand Prix of the year. I’m lucky this year, because I get two home races in a row, coming form the Red Bull Ring to Silverstone - but it’s thirty minutes from home, it’s my dad’s 50th weekend, and it’s going to be special.”
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