Bradley Smith has been a revelation in the 2012 season. After struggling a little in the early part of the year, Smith quickly got the hang of riding a 600cc four stroke, and with the help of his crew chief Tom Jojic, has become a consistent front runner in the Moto2 class.
For a while, Smith was linked to a promotion to the MotoGP class with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team for next year, but hopes of such a move had faded over recent weeks. But with the announcement yesterday that Bradley Smith would be staying with the Tech 3 team for the next three years, Smith will get his promotion to MotoGP, albeit a year later than planned.
The deal sees Smith commit to Herve Poncharal's Tech 3 team through 2014. Next season, the young Englishman will stay in Moto2 and attempt to win the title in that class - a task that will be made much easier now that Marc Marquez is almost certain to ascend to a MotoGP ride on a Honda next year - after which he will switch to the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team for 2013 and 2014. Smith's ties with Monster will have helped him secure the deal, as the US energy drink have also extended their contract with the Tech 3 MotoGP team for the next three years as well.
The Tech 3 press release announcing Smith's contract appears below:
Tech 3 Racing Team signs three-year deal with Bradley Smith
The Tech 3 Racing Team is delighted to announce it has reached a three-year agreement with highly rated British rider Bradley Smith.
Smith's new contract will see him remain with the Tech 3 Racing Team in the ultra-competitive Moto2 World Championship in 2012.
He will then move to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 MotoGP Team for 2013 and 2014 having agreed the long-term deal with Tech 3 owner Herve Poncharal during last weekend's Motorland Aragon race.
The 20-year-old has been one of the star performers in this year's Moto2 World Championship, showcasing the high potential of the Tech 3 Racing Mistral 610 with three podium finishes, including a be st of second position in his home race at Silverstone in June.
Smith has also claimed four other top six finishes and with four rounds of the campaign left, he remains firmly in the hunt for a fantastic third position in the overall rankings.
Completing the Tech 3 Racing Moto2 line-up in 2012 will be Xavier Simeon. The Belgian rider has gained a wealth of experience riding the Tech 3 Mistral 610 machine in his rookie campaign in 2011, and he is looking forward to building on his close relationship with the French-based squad.
Simeon has scored points in three races to date, including a best result of 12th in the Mugello round. The 22-year-old will continue to be supported by RTL-Sport in Belgium.
"I am thrilled to have signed a three-year deal with the Tech 3 Racing Team and I am looking forward to continuing the excellent relationship we've developed in 2011. I have a fantastic relationship with Herve, my crew chief Tom Jojic and all my crew, who all have an amazing passion for racing. It is that dedication and desire to succeed that convinced me to join Tech 3 in 2011, so to be staying until the end of 2014 is the perfect scenario for me. There was never any doubt in my mind that Tech 3 would be the best option to develop my career. It has been flattering to have attracted interest from so many top teams in Moto2, but the opportunity to move to MotoGP in 2013 was simply too good for me to turn down. To think I'll be riding a Yamaha 1000cc MotoGP bike just over a year from now is hard to believe. I've worked so hard for many years to earn the chance to be given an opportunity like this, and now it has come I intend to grab it with both hands. Tech 3 gave me the chance to move to MotoGP in 2012 and it was an hono ur to be even considered at this stage of my career. The decision to stay in Moto2 was one of the hardest of my life but I believe that together, we can be fighting at the front from the start of next season and pushing to challenge for the Championship."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
"It gives me enormous pleasure to confirm that Tech 3 has signed a three-year agreement with Bradley Smith. Without doubt, we have managed to secure the services of one of the brightest young talents in the world and I am thrilled that Bradley has put his trust in Tech 3 to help him accomplish his dream of racing in MotoGP. We know he had a lot of interest inside the paddock because of the way he has performed this season, so it is a big compliment to Tech 3 that he chose to commit himself to us until the end of 2014 at least. Bradley has made an immedi ate impact in Moto2 this year and we all know it is a very difficult class. The rules mean that rider talent plays a crucial role in determining the results, and Bradley has shown he has the speed, talent and commitment to match the best. He has shown the true potential of the Mistral 610 machine with some phenomenal performances this season, and we are in no doubt that in 2012 he can be a genuine title contender before he makes the step to MotoGP. One more year in Moto2 will help him gain more valuable experience, so that when he moves to our MotoGP Team in 2013, he will be immediately competitive. I am convinced that with Bradley's long-term commitment to Tech 3 Racing that we can look forward to a long and successful relationship together. I'm also pleased to have signed Xavier Simeon. He has shown a lot of promise in 2011 and I'm sure next year he can be consistently finishing in the points and I want to thank RTL-Sport in Belgium for their continued support."