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1 day ago
By Bradley Smith

Bradley Smith's blog: Ready for a homecoming

The Red Bull KTM Factory rider reviews the race at Spielberg in preparation for the British GP

I am super excited about going to Silverstone for the British GP. First and foremost, just being able to turn up and race at my home track after missing out last year with the knee injury. The track layout really should suit the KTM because we have plenty of speed and Silverstone is quick. It will be interesting to see what tyres Michelin bring, and how the bike behaves over the bumps – because for sure it will be bumpy. The Spanish and Italian riders have more than one Grand Prix in their home country but for me and the other Brits this is our one and only appearance. Just turning up and having that home vibe will be fun.

Unfortunately we do come into the race more than a little baffled to be honest after the Austrian Grand Prix. Very surprised and shocked by the lack of pace and the lack of grip towards the end of the race. My pace in the morning warm-up in Austria was the quickest of the three KTM guys and I sat on the grid thinking I’m in for a cracking race. I don’t know why but it just did not feel like the same bike when the actual race started. I’m lost as to why because everything was exactly the same.

Perhaps it was the warmer conditions, and I could see other guys around struggling. I was ahead of Cal Crutchlow for the best part of half the race but then I had a big moment down at turn nine which was the warning sign and I thought, try and stick to what I know. At the end of the day you can only do what you can do and extract the maximum from myself and the bike. The black marks remained on the track for the rest of a race as a reminder. You just have to cancel out who is passing and going away. You must not get too emotional and just extract the best from the complete package – if you let emotions creep in it just gets worse and you can so easily end up crashing.

Having another great ride by a KTM rider for the second grand prix in succession was good. Pol Espargaro and Mika Kallio have been in the top ten at the last two Grands Prix which shows the bike is enough on track. We will be checking their data to try and find out why there was a big difference for me between the warm-up and the race.

I don’t think the track conditions changed that much but I just never went forward in the race with the rear tyre constantly spinning. Maybe our setting was more sensitive than Mika’s and it will be interesting to see if he changed anything between the warm-up and the race. We need to pinpoint what the missing factor was.

The fact is I was not fast enough and did not have the same pace as I’d shown in the warm-up and in free practice four on Saturday. At the end of the day Mikka has done a fantastic job – just as he did when he rode at the German Grand Prix. They clearly found something in the test team and it’s up to us to try and learn from what they found because he was both extremely competitive and strong. The package KTM brought to the Red Bull Ring and the week before in Brno was good – especially after the Aragon and wind tunnel testing. Ever slip streaming the bike was pulling harder, which should be good for Silverstone. Just now it’s my job to make it go round the corners quicker.

We are going to Misano for a test before Silverstone to help with tyres and set-up ready for that first practice on Friday morning. For KTM in their first season to get three top ten finishes in a row would be awesome. Hopefully it’s my turn – and at my home Grand Prix.

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