KTM is more and more focused on 2019. So far Pol Espargaró has scored points twice and currently he’s 14th in the championship standings with 8 points. Bradley Smith, by contrast, hasn’t scored points yet and in this situation he’s more and more likely to leave the team at the end of the season.
FUTURE AND AERODYNAMICS – KTM is focused on both the present and the future. First of all, the Austrian manufacturer has to further improve the new RC16, fundamental step to reach the top 10. Secondly, they’re negotiating with Johann Zarco and it seems like the two parties will close the deal very soon. The official announcement is expected to come at the end of the month. Moreover, KTM is trying to stop the development of aerodynamics in MotoGP, as it could lead to an exaggerated increase of costs. On the other side, KTM’s main opponent in this “battle” is Ducati, definitely unwilling to neglect an area they’re very interested in. At Jerez KTM will line up not just Espargaró and Smith, but also the test rider Mika Kallio, at the first of the five wild card rides confirmed for 2018. This could help them a lot in solving grip issues, thing that is heavily affecting on-track perfomance. Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith usually have to test many new parts during FPs and this prevents them from finding a good setup for Qualifying and Race. After all, the team has to work 100% on engine, chassis and electronics to solve the problems related to corner entry. And the test day scheduled on Monday could be very useful to furthe develop the bike.
OLIVEIRA IN, SMITH OUT – KTM is unhappy with Bradley Smith’s results, it’s not a secret. The Brit has scored no points in the first three 2018 races and probably he will be replaced by Miguel Oliveira. The manufacturer based in Mattighofen likes betting on young riders and the Portuguese talent would be perfect for them, also because he’s very fast: last year he ranked 3rd in Moto2 World Championship and this year, so far, he’s already scored two podium finishes. Smith, who will turn 28 at the end of the season, may leave MotoGP after six years and just one podium, dating back to 2015 Misano GP.