One year after, KTM made some steps forward at Mugello, where the laptimes were 6 tenths faster than in 2017, but there are still many problems to be solved to achieve top 10 constantly. A very hard situation for Bradley Smith, who may leave MotoGP or even motorcycle racing.
IS SMITH GOING TO LEAVE KTM? – The British rider left Mugello with a 14th-place finish in the pocket and so far he’s scored just seven points. The main cause seems to be the fact that the bike doesn’t work very well in changes of direction: it seems heavy in the exit of the corner and what makes it even harder are some grip and vibration issues, which should be solved by working on the electronics. This difficult situation could affect Smith’s future, because for 2019 KTM has already signed Pol Espargarò and Johann Zarco, while Tech3 will bet on Miguel Oliveira and another rider. “Unless there’s a seat in MotoGP, I will stop racing”, admitted Bradley Smith.
MOTOGP OR NOTHING – Smith is considering retirement with 28 years of age, after thirteen seasons in MotoGP (including six in the top class), 22 podiums and three wins. He had his best season in 2009, when he was 125cc runner-up. This respectable career that may come to an end at Valencia. “I’ve been lucky, because I could ride the best bikes against the best riders on the planet. If there’s no place for me in this championship, I will be happy with leaving races“. Smith doesn’t want to go to World Superbike and he would prefer to join a manufacturer as test rider and take part in some races as a wildcard. What matters to him is to stay in MotoGP. “It depends on what’s available for 2019. If you’re in MotoGP as test rider, you still have the chance to race there and to ride the best bikes all over the world. What Mika (Kallio, ed) is doing is fantastic and it would be nice to do the same”. Scott Redding is in the same situation as Smith, as he’s very likely to leave Aprilia, and so Cal Crutchlow could be the only British rider in the field in 2019.