Bradley Smith is convinced his YZR-M1 seat in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad is not in jeopardy for 2014 as teammate Cal Crutchlow’s future gets closer to being finalised.
Ducati appears to have won the race for Crutchlow’s signature, though MCN has learned he has until Saturday (tomorrow) to inform Tech 3 on whether he will accept an improved pay deal and factory contract direct with Yamaha.
That’s a deadline that was extended by a fortnight as Yamaha tries to do everything possible to keep the 27-year-old, who was also recently linked with a shock move to the LCR Honda squad.
The Yamaha deal is still not what Cructhlow desired as it the new offer doesn’t assure him of a place in Yamaha’s factory team in 2015.
Speculation has been rife about Smith’s future too, as he was most vulnerable if Crutchlow agreed to stay with Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 squad.
Yamaha signed Spanish Moto2 title contender Pol Espargaro months ago and he will have one YZR-M1 in Tech 3.
But Smith doesn’t fear being squeezed out and the 22-year-old told MCN: “To be honest nobody has said anything to me that even makes me think that I am not going to be riding in Tech 3 next year. From my side there is nothing to be nervous about because I don’t know any different.”
Smith’s name has been mentioned with the Italian-based Forward Racing squad, which will lease Yamaha engines for 2014, but he denied constant speculation about his future had become unsettling.
He added: “All I have to focus on is doing my job. The further I move up the grid the better it is for me. The team is all still 100% behind me but there is nothing for me to be nervous about. I know what contract I have and I am still in a strong situation. I am not going to be a pushover and I want to be in that Tech 3 team.”