Smith: KTM's support for me never wavered
12 October 2017 – Bradley Smith says the support from KTM "hasn't ever wavered" amid his struggles this year, in the wake of the manufacturer confirming the Briton in its 2018 line-up.
Smith joined KTM from Tech 3 on a two-year deal but has scored only 14 points, just three more than tester Mika Kallio, who has made just three appearances this year, beating Smith in Austria and Aragón.
Speculation mounted that KTM was weighing up whether to promote Kallio to a full-time race role next year, but the outfit confirmed earlier this week that its line-up for 2018 will not be altered.
"I mean you don't feel it [pressure] necessarily but you know it's there, continually, especially outside of the garage," Smith said ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.
"Externally everyone [is] asking or trying to ask not only myself, but team members or team staff.
"It's nice that everything's clarified, it's always something that hasn't ever wavered internally but externally it's been the talking point.
"It means my life is a lot easier, I don't have to justify anything.
"I am the rider for 2018, Mika's doing a fantastic job as a test rider, going to be great to see him at Valencia again and then some wildcards again next year."
Smith added that he is "starting to see some glimmer of my old self" following an encouraging test at MotorLand Aragón.
"Inside the team everything's been great, everyone worked super hard [at the] Aragón test," he said.
"There were lots of new parts to try, we're trying to find some more pace, race pace and [over] one lap for me.
"I feel everything's going in the right direction, it's taken a long time to get to this point, but I'm certainly starting to see some glimmer of my old self, so in these final four races I need to show it."