Bradley Smith believes overwhelming 2012 Moto2 world championship favourite Marc Marquez won’t be unbeatable next season.
The Spaniard will go into next season as a red-hot favourite after he won seven races in 2011, though German Stefan Bradl beat him to the second Moto2 crown.
Marquez’s title challenge was ended by a severe double vision problem that he suffered after a heavy crash during practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang in October.
He missed the final race in Valencia and the vision issue hadn’t recovered in time for him to participate in any post season winter testing.
Smith, who claimed three podium finishes during an impressive rookie Moto2 campaign for the French-based Tech 3 Racing squad, told MCN: "Some of Marc’s performances were very impressive but the guy is not unbeatable. He’s just another guy that I have got to beat. I am a long way off his level at the moment but I think with a good winter testing campaign under my belt on the 2012 bike we should be closer. It looks like Marc is the guy we have got to beat and we will be doing our best."
Smith said it will be interesting to gauge Marquez’s pace in the early part of winter testing on the Suter MMXII chassis.
Marquez raced in the final part of the 2011 campaign on the 2012 Suter chassis and Smith added: "The interesting thing for me is that he was already on the 2012 bike from Aragon in September, so it will be interesting to see what more comes out of that package. We don’t know how much more they have got to come. We know from our bike that we didn’t really change anything from the start of the season, but we have already made a big step with the 2012 bike."