Bradley Smith © Gallo Images
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Bradley Smith said the Austrian manufacturer needs pace desperately to have any chance of getting points at the upcoming weekend's MotoGP race at Qatar's Losail Circuit.
The 26-year-old Briton was only able to do a time of 1m56.351s at the final pre-season test in Qatar meaning he was way down the pecking order and 21st quickest. The only others he was faster than was KTM test rider Mika Kallio and teammate Pol Espargaro.
For the KTM rider to get any points he needs to finish at least 15th placed in Sunday's MotoGP race.
In an interview carried by Autosport, Smith acknowledged that if KTM did not find at least half a second of pace then the chances of doing much over the weekend were very limited.
"That next area is where we need to be if we want to fight for points," Smith said. "Looking at the times, we need to find probably another half a second from somewhere.
"If we can be in the 1m55s in qualifying, that would be quite positive but then again we have to see the track conditions. It would be nice to come here and fight for points, maybe that's a little bit optimistic, but let's set the bar a little bit high and see if we can chase that."
"We are about half a second away from [15th, the final points-paying position] at the moment in terms of one lap and probably only about a quarter of a second, two or three away from that on the race pace."