KTM formally confirms Smith for 2018
11 October 2017 – KTM has reiterated its support for Bradley Smith, and confirmed that the Briton will continue to race for the team full-time in 2018.
Smith joined new squad KTM on a two-year deal for 2017 and 2018, though has struggled this season, scoring just 14 points, compared to the 37 amassed by team-mate Pol Espargaró.
Speculation had mounted that KTM could replace Smith with test rider Mika Kallio, who has taken 11 points from his three wildcard starts this year, beating Smith to the chequered flag in Austria and Aragón.
KTM, though, has emphasised that it will continue to field Espargaró and Smith full-time in 2018, with Kallio remaining as its tester, who will receive occasional outings.
"KTM has supported Bradley from the very first test on the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike in Valencia 2016," read a statement from the team.
"He has fitted into the team well and has worked hard at every test, practice and race as a new motorcycle is developed with new parts coming into the garage for every race.
"The team want to confirm that 2018 will remain as committed to Smith as before as we both look forward to bettering results and lap times.
"He is a Grand Prix winner and a podium man over the three classes of Grand Prix racing he's contested, something that KTM wish to repeat with an orange motorcycle underneath him."
On Kallio, KTM said: "Mika will remain as the team's test rider for 2018 with selected wildcard rides.
"He has been a huge part of the progress of the project through his vast experience in Grand Prix that go back 17 years, knowledge that has been a major factor in the project exceeding the initial expectations for 2017.
"KTM look forward to Kallio's ongoing speed and support so the motorcycle can jump forward to the next step in 2018 and beyond.
"His three races so far this year have been some of the most impressive for a wildcard in recent times with his commitment and speed."
Kallio's next outing will come during next month's finale at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo Circuit.