Bradley Smith: Passionate fans will provide a big boost at Silverstone
Posted on Apr 28, 2017 by Nick Harris
Bradley Smith says passionate British MotoGP™ fans will provide a big boost at Silverstone on August Bank Holiday race weekend
Bradley Smith believes the passionate British MotoGP™ fans will provide a big boost to all the British riders at this year’s August Bank Holiday race weekend – and that the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit will suit his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing bike.
British fans will also have their visiting overseas heroes racing at Silverstone – and no one attracts more admiration than Valentino Rossi. Rossi leads the championship after the first three spectacular rounds of the season – and with ‘The Doctor’ on such scintillating form, 2017 might be the penultimate time British fans will be able to watch Rossi race at the British MotoGP™, as the 38-year old Italian may retire when his current Yamaha contract expires at the end of 2018.
Having missed last year’s British MotoGP™ through injury, Smith cannot wait to race in front of his home fans again. With a brand new KTM RC16 bike and an all-new team, it’s been an understandably challenging start to the 2017 season – although it has included an encouraging points-scoring finish second time out in Argentina. With a big development programme underway, the 26-year old Oxfordshire rider is glad that the British MotoGP™ is taking place later this year and believes that he’ll be a lot more competitive come August Bank Holiday. He might not be in a position to win at Silverstone this year, but with three other British MotoGP™ riders on the grid (Cal Crutchlow, Sam Lowes and Scott Redding), the top Independent MotoGP™ rider of 2015 quite rightly says that the British fans will be able to cheer on the British riders right the way through the field.
Three races in, and it’s been a sensational start to the 2017 MotoGP™ season. The 2016 British MotoGP™ winner Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) dominated pre-season testing and won the first two races in Qatar and Argentina, before dramatically crashing out of the Grand Prix of the Americas. That saw Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) continue his unbeaten run in Texas, winning there for a fifth straight time. But a third place in Qatar, followed by two second places, sees Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) at the top of the leaderboard as the series heads to Europe for round four at Jerez in Spain (7 May). Crutchlow (LCR Honda) is the best-placed British rider in fifth (behind Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team), Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) is ninth, Smith is 22nd and Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) is in 23rd place.
“British fans are among the most passionate in the world, especially when it comes to their home riders. What I love about them is that they support all the British riders, where in Italy for instance they will only support Rossi! Cal is pushing on very near the front, Scott’s had a good consistent start while Sam and myself are at the rear at the moment and so they have someone to cheer throughout the grid.
After the disappointment last year when I missed the Silverstone race through injury, it will be great to get back to my home grand prix. KTM UK is based at Silverstone, which makes it even more extra special. Being the local boy means a bit of extra focus at a track that I really like and I’m glad that the British MotoGP is later in the season because it gives us more chance to develop the brand new KTM. I think the layout of Silverstone will be in our favour because the KTM is good through the fast corners and fingers crossed everything will work there. It should be a good fun weekend.”
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