Smith graduates to MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha after two years in Moto2. He had previously finished runner-up in the 2010 125cc championship.
The 22-year-old Briton joins a grid that includes seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi and reigning title-holder Jorge Lorenzo, plus 2006 champion Nicky Hayden and 22-time MotoGP race-winner Dani Pedrosa.
"I'm not intimidated, but that doesn't take away any respect. These boys are amazing motorcycle riders and athletes," Smith told BBC Radio Oxford.
"You have to have the mentality that these guys are just another bike or just another rider.
"I've always been able to distinguish between someone I have admired in the past and people I have to race against now."
He is also confident he can get himself up to the standard of the frontrunners given time.
"These are the best riders in the world but I have a lot of belief in myself and the programme I have been given," said Smith.
"I have to work as hard as possible to get up to the level these guys are at."
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- Nicky Hayden
- Valentino Rossi