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Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had a successful weekend at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, securing points for the third race in a row after crossing the line in 14th position.
Reflecting after the race at Mugello, Smith was pleased with his Italian GP. “The start was awesome and then yeah, the whole race was how I imagined it to be, I was there fighting with my teammate and then we were there with the usual suspects, Syahrin, Rabat and Aleix also,” explained the number 38. “In general, I was quite happy. There was a good strong fight at the end, I think there was three riders within half a tenth across the line, a bit like a Moto3™ race but all in all its been a positive weekend in Mugello, we did the best that we possibly could, we finished 22 seconds behind the leader which is a massive step forward compared to last year.”
There was talk of a potential Tech 3 return for Smith, a team he enjoyed a successful six-year partnership with in Moto2™ and the premier class from 2011 to 2016. The Brit finished a career best sixth in the MotoGP™ Championship standings in 2015 with the French squad, while also achieving two podiums on the M1 Yamaha. However, Hervé Poncharal and the Austrian factory signed Moto2™ KTM rider Miguel Oliveira earlier in the season, and recently confirmed current Tech 3 rider Hafizh Syahrin will continue in 2019, leaving Smith without any obvious rides for next year.
How does the MotoGP™ grid look for 2019?
With reports at Mugello suggesting the 27-year-old is pondering retirement if a MotoGP™ seat doesn’t become available, Smith reiterated after Sunday’s Mugello race that he’s doing everything he can to remain in the paddock next season. “At the end of the day I want to be here inside MotoGP™, so that’s my main target. I’m focusing and doing everything that I can to be here, right now I finished just under two seconds from my teammate who has a factory contract for next year, so we’re doing a good job, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing and we’ll see if someone sees the potential and it’ll be nice to be here for another season next year.”
The 25-time Grand Prix podium finisher will continue to work for his future when the paddock heads to Barcelona, with Smith looking forward to racing at the Catalan GP. “We had a positive two-day test in Barcelona only last week, so the track is fresh in our mind, we know the tyre situation there and we know the positives and negatives of our bike… lap times were OK, we need to be a bit more competitive and it’s always good fun to race in Catalunya and race in Spain.”
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