Yamaha today confirmed that Pol Espargaro will remain with the Japanese manufacturer for 2016. Having won the Suzuka 8 Hours Espargaro was always likely to remain with the manufacturer for next year but after a difficult season there was speculation linking him with a move elsewhere.
Espargaro told MCN on Thursday that he was very happy to remain with Tech3 and that with so many variables coming into play in 2016, new tyres and new electronics being the biggest changes, stability becomes increasingly important for teams and riders.
The Spaniard has had a challenging season but has hit some form lately.
"I‘m happy because renewing my contract with a factory like Yamaha is always going to be fantastic," said Espargaro. "Yamaha gave me the opportunity to make my debut in MotoGP and together, I think we had a really good first season. This year we are working hard to improve our results that have not been as strong as we would have liked at this point of the year.
"However, next season there will be some important changes in the category, such as the alterations to the technical regulations and especially, the changing of the tyre supplier. From my point of view, the less you change with regards to the team and the bike, the easier it will be to adapt to all of this. Despite some tricky moments this year, I know the bike and I know I can continue to work well together with Yamaha and Tech3 in order to achieve our goals."
Espargaro set the pole time at Suzuka that set the foundations for their first victory at the 8 Hours in 19 years.
"This announcement is also fantastic following the success at Suzuka, where we undertook some really good work together that concluded in the victory which was great for Yamaha and also for my confidence. Therefore, I hope that this result and the renewal of my contract will help me for the nine races that we still have left in 2015, which is the most important thing for me to focus on right now.”
From Yamaha's perspective the extension shows their continued commitment to Espargaro having brought him into the premier class year when he had a very impressive rookie campaign.
"I am very pleased that Pol will remain with Yamaha for next season," said Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis. "Pol is one of the pool of very talented young riders that will surely have a big future in the MotoGP class in years to come. His 2014 debut season was very strong and he achieved 6th place at the end of the year behind the riders of the Factory Teams. He has faced many difficulties in the first half of 2015 but we are still convinced that he has a big potential and remains one of the most exciting, young talents for the future. With his plans for next season now confirmed he can focus on putting together a strong second half of the 2015 championship with more to come next year."
There is no news on whether Bradley Smith's Tech3 deal will be extended, despite the 24-year-old lying joint fifth in the title table, four positions and 24 points ahead of Espargaro. Smith was also part of the Suzuka-winning Yamaha team.