The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad has confirmed in Brno today (Saturday) that Bradley Smith will definitely move to MotoGP to partner fellow British rider Cal Crutchlow in 2013.
The Oxfordshire rider, who currently rides for the Tech 3 Racing Moto2 squad, signed a three-year deal with Herve Poncharal’s French-based squad last September.
The deal included a two-year contract to ride a YZR-M1 1000cc machine in 2013 and 2014.
Smith’s deal though has been the subject of intense speculation ever since he signed at the Motorland Aragon last year.
Many questioned the wisdom of Poncharal’s decision to sign Smith so early on such a long-term contract.
And after the strong performances of Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso in the first half of 2012, Smith had to face constant rumours that he might not have the YZR-M1 ride if Poncharal had the opportunity to keep his current line-up.
Poncharal has remained silent on Smith’s future throughout but with Italian Dovizioso clinching a lucrative two-year switch to Ducati’s factory squad as replacement for Valentino Rossi, confirmation of Smith’s move came today ahead of Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno.
The 21-year-old will make his YZR-M1 debut immediately after the final race in Valencia and he said: “It is an honour for me to get the opportunity to move to MotoGP with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. I have dreamed about being a MotoGP rider for as long as I can remember and to get this chance with such a professional and successful team is fantastic. It is clear from the results achieved by Cal and Andrea (Dovizioso) in 2012 that together Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster is a very competitive package and I can’t wait to begin this new adventure in my career. I know I have a huge challenge ahead of me but I believe in my ability and I am grateful to Herve Poncharal, Yamaha and Monster for showing a lot of confidence in me to offer me this chance. I already know the Tech 3 Team so it won’t be such a huge transition for me and I have a good relationship with Cal. This will be very important because I can learn a lot from him. I am now looking forward to finishing the season strongly in Moto2 for Tech 3 Racing before I get my first chance to ride a YZR-M1 machine in Valencia."