Bradley Smith Eyes Suzuki, Ducati and Even KTM

Bradley Smith 4 photos
Bradley SmithBradley SmithBradley Smith
Englishman Bradley Smith was the first of the Yamaha Tech3 riders to speak openly about his plans for the future. The Brit is eyeing Ducati and factory seats for Suzuki and even KTM in 2017, after his current contract with Herve Poncharal's team expires.
The whole thing started out when the principal of Yamaha's MotoGP department Lin Jarvis declared that Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith would most likely not be in Yamaha's satellite team in 2017. However, he did not exclude the possibility that they deliver spectacular results and remain with Iwata. "If you ask me if we're going to Pol and Bradley in 2017 with Tech 3, I honestly tell you, most likely not. They can go elsewhere, or if they get exceptional results, they could stay with or we go into the factory team," Jarvis added.

Talking to MCN, Bradley Smith says that he is aware that he approaches a turning point in his career. A factory ride for Yamaha is inconceivable at the moment, as Lorenzo will most likely get a new two-year contract after 2016, regardless of whether he wins the title again or not.

At the same time, Rossi's future with Yamaha depends, like we sort of got used to, on the first races. The call is his to make, and given how much he improved his performance over the past two years, seeing him leave the Iwata team is too much of a risky prediction.

Lin Jarvis also mentions that Yamaha is interested in Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales

The Yamaha boss has recently said that Iwata has a special interest in Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales, making it clear that at least one of the teams will see changes.

This may sound a bit weird for Smith , given the fact that he finished the 2015 championship in the sixth position, 7 points adrift Ducati's Andrea Iannone and 19 ahead of the other factory Ducati rider, Andrea Dovizioso. Smith was therefore the best non-factory rider on the grid last year.

Neither Jarvis nor Smith speaks about why the Oxfordshire rider could or should be thinking about finding a new team for 2017. One the one hand, it's the fact that, without access to a Yamaha factory seat, there's not much Smith can do to score more points and battle the guys at the front. Perhaps Jarvis figured out Smith wants more and this is why he says that Yamaha is willing to let him go and replace him with a young gun.

On the other hand, Smith says that he can think about two factory outfits, such as Suzuki and KTM. Even though the experience of these teams is somewhat limited, he knows that a factory ride comes with superior advantages in terms of technology and possibilities.

By 2017, Suzuki should have accumulated enough experience in MotoGP and be able to improve their competitiveness, while KTM, even though once more rookies, have a great record of achieving what they set out for, thus being credited as one of the possible hard players on the grid.

If Vinales leaves Suzuki, Hamamatsu will be one rider short, while KTM still hasn't mentioned any name for 2017, so the game is on.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories