BRADLEY Smith says the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic has taught him to be patient ahead of his return to MotoGP.

The 29-year-old expects to line up on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix on July 19, the first race of a condensed 2020 season.

Smith, from Forest Hill, is Aprilia’s test rider, but is deputising while teammate Andrea Iannone contests a ban for a doping offence.

As with all walks of life, the future remains cloudy, but he remains relaxed about what could happen in the months ahead.

“I’m learning to be patient,” he said.

“Until I’ve got something concrete in front of me it’s difficult to say how long I’ll be racing for.

“Andrea’s trial isn’t looking like it will be before the first couple of races, so we’re kind of sat waiting for Aprilia to press the green button.

“As of right now I’m planning to be at round one.”

Without the pandemic, Smith could by now have been halfway through a season of racing for Aprilia.

Iannone was provisionally banned last December after testing positive for an anabolic steroid, with the Oxford-born rider in line to replace him at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix on March 8.

As more events were cancelled or postponed, it looked like Smith would not get his chance until the race in the Czech Republic on August 9.

But the 2020 calendar was finally released earlier this month, with up to 17 races scheduled for the rest of the year.

Smith is itching to return to the track, having last completed a full campaign in 2018 and only entering four events as a wildcard last season.

But despite a break that was longer than anticipated, he knows he will be ready when the lights go out in Spain next month.

Smith said: “You can’t be too much on the back foot, you have to be mentally prepared.

“All of my competitors will be focusing on targets and training to get the best results at round one.

“For the last three months we’ve been sat at home in lockdown.

“The mental state to drive is something I’ve got myself ready for.

“I was focusing on Qatar and it made me realise the state I got into for it, because as soon as they cancelled it I had no outlet to channel that feeling.”