Stefan Bradl said it is a big honour to have signed a new MotoGP contract direct with HRC after impressing during his rookie season in 2012.
The former Moto2 world champion didn’t finish out of the top 10 last season and he was a consistent top six challenger on Lucio Cecchinello’s LCR Honda RC213V.
The German's standout ride came when he narrowly missed a stunning debut podium in Mugello by finishing less than 0.1s behind track specialist Andrea Dovizioso.
He scored seven other top six finishes and impressed by his speed and technical feedback, HRC confirmed in Valencia last week that Bradl will be an officially contracted Honda rider in 2014.
His deal means he will essentially operate like Marco Simoncelli did at Gresini Honda before his tragic death in a crash during the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.
Simoncelli raced for a satellite team but he had factory support and his contract was direct with HRC.
Bradl said it was flattering to have HRC so behind him after just one season in MotoGP.
He told MCN: “This is a great pleasure for me and I am really happy to get this contract because it shows that HRC have a lot of faith in my potential. I am really happy with Honda, the team and the bike, so it is perfect to go into next year with the confidence to know that I also have another year after that.”
Now he is an official HRC rider, Bradl’s prospects of being in the Repsol-backed factory squad are improved, though he expects to remain in Cecchinello’s squad beyond next season.
HRC’s official squad will feature Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez in 2013 and ’14, but Bradl’s deal means he is at least going to be negotiating contracts for 2015 and beyond at the same time, enhancing his chance of a place in the official squad.
Asked whether he expected to be staying at LCR in 2014, he added: “This is not sure but the contract will be with HRC and probably I will ride with Lucio because we don’t know what is happening.”