Aprilia have confirmed that, as reported by MCN last week, Bradley Smith will become their official test rider for 2019. The Brit, who was let go by the Red Bull KTM team, will become the Italian firm’s first full-time tester as they step up development of the RS-GP.
Speaking last weekend to MCN, Aprilia racer Aleix Espargaro admitted that he was very keen to see Smith join the team thanks to his considerable experience in the premier class and his well-acknowledged technical skills.
“He’s a very experienced rider who rode the Yamaha at a very high level one of the years he was on it, and now with the KTM he’s been improving the level of the bike a lot in the last few races. He’s a young guy who’s still got the potential to be a factory rider and to race in MotoGP, but because of how tight everything is he doesn’t have that chance - but that means he’s more than good enough to be a test rider.”
The news isn’t good news for fellow Brit and current Aprilia racer Scott Redding though, as he loses out on the chance to take on the Aprilia testing role himself. Admitting that he did no favours for himself with his outburst about the manufacturer at the Austrian Grand Prix, he says he’s currently considering Moto2, World Superbike and British Superbike offers.