Dropping Bradley Smith for 2018 would have been unfair - KTM boss

KTM MotoGP motorsport director Pit Beirer says dropping Bradley Smith for the 2018 season due to his poor results this year would have been "not fair"

Dropping Bradley Smith for 2018 would have been unfair - KTM boss

Smith's consistent failure to match team-mate Pol Espargaro during the season had generated speculation that the Briton was to be dropped in favour of KTM tester Mika Kallio for next year.

These rumours intensified as Kallio beat Smith during a wildcard outing at the Red Bull Ring in August, and then did so again when he was handed an extra race on a third KTM at September's Aragon Grand Prix.

But shortly before the Motegi round in October, KTM issued a statement to confirm it will run an unchanged race line-up next season, and that Kallio will remain its test rider.

"First of all, he has a contract for next year," said Beirer when asked why KTM chose to keep Smith on board.

"There was never going to be no ride for him next year.

"But from the outside there was a lot of pressure because his results were not so good.

"Also you have to see that both riders took a huge risk coming into a new project, with a new bike, coming from a very competitive bike [Tech3 Yamaha].

"When they signed for us, there was a blank piece of paper, they couldn't even look at the bike. It would not be fair to drop a rider halfway through the first season.

"We decided to give him the time to develop. I know he's better than what he showed and something was wrong for him and not feeling good.

"And since the pressure got bigger and bigger I just took the chance before the riders left [for the flyaways] to confirm that we will stick to the contract, to take this huge load off his back.

"How can you perform if when you come into the paddock, the first question is 'How many hours do you still have left in this team before they kick you out'?"

Smith ended the season 26 points and three places behind Espargaro in the standings in 21st, but had an upturn in form after KTM's 2018 statement - beginning with a season-best seventh on the grid at Motegi.

Beirer believes that shows reiterating KTM's support for Smith was the right thing to do.

"We have already seen through this little confirmation a different rider," added Beirer.

"Where we are at the moment, it's thanks to the riders, so it was a pleasure for me to confirm that he stays with us and he will be part of us next year."

shares
comments
Crutchlow: I'm as fast as 2017 MotoGP title contender Dovizioso

Previous article

Crutchlow: I'm as fast as 2017 MotoGP title contender Dovizioso

Next article

MotoGP reveals supplier and start year for electric support series

MotoGP reveals supplier and start year for electric support series
Load comments
How ‘El Diablo’ and ‘the Beast’ starred in MotoGP’s Misano contest Plus

How ‘El Diablo’ and ‘the Beast’ starred in MotoGP’s Misano contest

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino Grand Prix will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP’s present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia’s flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Plus

How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Plus

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Plus

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Plus

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the circuit's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How MotoGP's record smasher is facing his toughest challenge Plus

How MotoGP's record smasher is facing his toughest challenge

The 2020 MotoGP season was an utterly enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if thought it the world championship was a poorer place without its biggest star Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021
The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP Plus

The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP

The headlines after MotoGP's Austrian GP were naturally dominated by Brad Binder's heroics on slicks in the rain. But although seventh was, on the face of it, a fairly average result in the context of his season, that Fabio Quartararo was in contention for victory before the rain at Yamaha's worst venue should sound alarm bells for his rivals

MotoGP
Aug 17, 2021
Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales in MotoGP - but won't fix his big problem Plus

Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales in MotoGP - but won't fix his big problem

The prelude to Maverick Vinales' move to Aprilia has been his tortured exit from Yamaha. But the Spanish rider must put allegations of sabotage, suspensions and unwanted personnel changes aside once he embarks upon his new journey, while Aprilia must find a way to get Vinales firing on all cylinders once again

MotoGP
Aug 16, 2021