With a contract for 2014 already signed and sealed, it is no surprise that British rider Bradley Smith spoke of his intention to be part of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad in 2014 on the eve of this weekend’s Dutch TT in Assen today.
If only it was that simple.
Smith might be only in the first of a two-year deal with Herve Poncharal’s French-based Tech 3 squad, but whether he will still be on board a factory-backed YZR-M1 machine next year has been the subject of mounting speculation in recent weeks.
Spanish Moto2 rider Pol Espargaro is looking a certainty to get a place in Tech 3 on a factory Yamaha contract next year. And with negotiations continuing to keep current teammate Cal Crutchlow beyond 2013, Smith’s seat woud appear in some jeopardy.
Tech 3 boss Poncharal has made it clear that he fully intends to keep Crutchlow for 2014 and the former World Supersport champion has major support from title sponsor Monster.
Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta is also working behind-the-scenes to ensure the 27-year old has the most competitive ride possible next season.
Crutchlow is once again locked in talks with Ducati, despite a bitter and disappointing end to negotiations at this stage 12 months ago.
A twist to the plot is that Smith and Crutchlow are both represented by the same management company – the Wasserman Media Group.
It’s paddock representative Bob Moore is remaining tight-lipped about the current situation for both his clients and he believes the outcome of the talks won’t materialise for a few weeks yet.
Speaking in Assen earlier Smith said: “It is true that I have a contract and it is true that there is a lot of talking. What else can I say? As far as I am aware my management company WMG are happy with everything that is going on. The Yamaha people believe in me and I am hoping for my results to improve.
There is always going to be a difficult situation with the amount of riders that are in our team and the amount of riders that are supposed to be going in our team. Right now I have a contract and right now Yamaha haven’t said anything to me and they are happy with my performance. Obviously we are all trying to improve my results but I am looking to be in the same team for 2014.”