Bradley Smith is to keep his MotoGP ride with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team for another season. After a difficult start to the 2014 season, Smith’s place in the MotoGP team had been in doubt, as this was the year when the Englishman had been expected to deliver.

Smith had shown glimpses of his potential at a number of rounds, often being fast in practice. But several crashes and poor race results have seen Smith fall short on Sunday, when it counts.

Smith keeping his place is in part due to team boss Herve Poncharal keeping faith in the young Briton, who has raced for Tech 3 in Moto2 and MotoGP since 2011. But the lack of a suitable replacement was also a reason for Poncharal to retain Smith.

Poncharal told us at Assen that he had no interest in current riders in MotoGP other than Smith, but was looking to Moto2, and even Moto3.

Credible reports suggested that Yamaha was keen on bringing Alex Rins in to MotoGP straight from Moto3, but Rins turned down the offer, preferring to go to Moto2 instead.

Poncharal was also interested in Jonas Folger and Maverick Viñales, but Folger is in the middle of a two-year contract in Moto2, while Viñales elected to sign for Suzuki.

“It’s difficult to explain exactly how I feel right now but I am just overly thankful to Yamaha and Herve as well as the whole Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for believing in me and enabling me to continue riding here for another year,” said Bradley Smith in the team’s press release. “I really do love working with this team plus the Yamaha YZR-M1 and it’s crazy to think that this well be our fifth year together although it still feels like the second!”

“There’s been a lot of emotion in resigning so I’m really happy with the end result and that everything is finally sorted. Also, it’s positive mentally to have next year clear whilst going into the second half of this season. For me personally, it’s now time to start achieving and performing at my full potential, which I don’t believe we have seen yet.”

“I know that with this team they can support me to get where I am capable of being and beyond plus furthermore, get the results that I need not only for myself, but for the sponsors and everyone involved in this elite operation. In addition, riding with Pol is great fun as it creates a strong atmosphere in the team and together we are very competitive which aids us in pushing as well as motivating each other in every session.”

“For Pol and I to finish 5th and 6th is back where Monster Yamaha Tech3 deserves to be and everyone can expect more of the same in the next 18 months. I am very happy and look forward to the rest of the season as well being very excited for 2015.”

Source: Monster Tech 3 Yamaha; Photo: © 2014 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Jw

    and together we are very competitive which aids us in pushing as well as motivating each other in every session.

  • Jw

    This goes with my previous post.

    Sorry Bradley, I’m afraid the fans do not see you as competitive, with Pol you are competitive at best. “Very” does not apply.

  • Jonathan

    Well at least Smith can breathe now and not push hard enough to crash 4 or 5 times over the weekend.

  • Sixty7

    Life line………

  • L2C

    It’s pretty clear that Smith is fast, yet it’s also equally clear that he doesn’t know how to go fast. It’s the going fast part that has stymied him over the years. Any rider can sprint–from weekend to weekend, there are anywhere between four to six, sometimes seven riders who can beat Marquez to turn one, regardless of the circuit they’re attending–but going faster means racing. Racing is where Smith consistently falls short. It doesn’t seem that he has yet wrapped his head completely around the racing aspect of going fast. Practice and qualifying sessions are one thing, racing is a whole different thing altogether.

    Smith can’t say he’s suffering from bad luck, that’s for sure. Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista — those two are suffering from bad luck. Their teams and sponsors have given up on them even though, objectively speaking, both are far more capable riders than Smith has ever been. And yet Smith has scored a new one-year extension with his team. A fact that can only be explained by money, not results.

    Apparently Monster doesn’t have anything else better to do than spend more money on Smith. But most likely it’s a cost saving measure. No doubt it’s cheaper to keep him for one year than to get rid of him and hire someone else for two years. Monster Tech 3 couldn’t snag Viñales, Alex Rins rebuffed them, so what else could they have done? And let’s not forget the obvious overture being made to UK fans. BT Sport MotoGP, still struggling, needs something to sell its subscribers and attract new ones. “Local boy does good. Again!” is as good as anything else. (See Cal Crutchlow’s move to LCR for a similar situation.)

    I wonder if Monster will follow Cal Crutchlow to LCR, or if Red Bull has commodified him for next season. Given Red Bull’s ties with HRC and LCR, Monster is probably out. Of course this would also help to explain why Tech 3 chose to retain Smith. Monster losing Crutchlow to Red Bull would be bad enough. Going forward, they would probably want to keep some continuity.

    If Red Bull follows Bradl to Forward Racing, that would be surprising, but it’s not likely to happen given that Jack Miller will be riding alongside Crutchlow at LCR– on a brand spanking new, and upgraded, RCV1000R production racer–Miller being the only rider capable of getting Honda to cough/poop up/out another one. So, yeah, Red Bull has effectively replaced Bradl.

    Cue: Curtis Blow “The Breaks”

  • article dan

    I am also very interested to see what happens with crutchlow/monster/redbull as they’ve been with cal since his BSB days.

    Smith has just been very fortunate that Herve couldn’t sign a rider he prefers. He really needs to stop crashing and really up his game generally. He’s capable of some really fast times but nothing ever comes of it usually cos he’s beaten up by Sunday.

  • It’s pretty clear that Smith is fast, yet it’s also equally clear that he doesn’t know how to go fast.

    I can’t say that I agree with that. Smith’s 2009 and 2010 125 seasons riding for Aspar were really strong. Smith wound up 2nd overall in 2009. 2010 wasn’t quite as good (and that Marc Marquez kid won 10 rounds). Still, he didn’t crash all over the place on Sundays in those seasons and he only had two retirements over the two years. It’s this humble scribe’s opinion (me humble?) that Smith’s slide began when he came face to face with the Mistral in Moto2.

    Smith hasn’t quite aged like a fine wine. His proclivity towards winding up in the kitty litter really got started in Moto2 and has yet to abate. Smith’s a good rider with an intellectual approach. He just needs to keep off the floor a little more often and he’ll have a successful campaign.

  • L2C

    @ Trane Francks

    That performance from Smith was so long ago, it doesn’t even skew the results anymore. One has to go with what one has seen in the four seasons since 2010.

  • HateUK

    Exactly. The guy didn’t even podium in 2012, and Poncheral gives him one of the best rides in MotoGP. He has a job purely so the team gets favorable coverage by the Brit media like this site – no other reason.

  • The guy didn’t even podium in 2012

    ROTFLMAO – Well, duh. The Mistral 610 that Tech3 developed in Moto2 was possibly the worst bike in the field. And if it didn’t start off the worst, it remained well and truly one of the least developed bikes across several years. It was so bad, in fact, that it drove Danny Kent back to Moto3 after a disastrous rookie season in Moto2 on the Tech3 bike. While 2014 sees the Mistral performing much better, its past can only be described as disappointing.

    Seriously, guys.

    Obviously, Smith knows how to go fast. Now he needs to learn how to keep the bike off the floor. The danger is that if Smith doesn’t start getting consistent results, he’ll run out of time. (And, honestly, I thought that had already happened this season. Lucky break.)

  • L2C

    Smith and Crutchlow are two guys that are going to be heavily watched next season. If those two think the eyes and pressure are on them now, wait until next season. Smith, in particular, has to prove right those few who continue to have faith in him. Everybody likes him, but opinions diverge sharply when it comes to how he fares on the motorcycle in races.

    Crutchlow will be on his last option next season. If he doesn’t perform, it’s a question whether any of the other teams, including those yet to join the class, will want him. And here’s the kicker, CWM-LCR will have the option to keep or dismiss Crutchlow based on results. The contract is signed for 2015 but if Crutchlow doesn’t perform as expected, the door is opened for CWM-LCR and HRC to let him go.

    What that means is that both Smith and Crutchlow have six or seven races in 2015 to show that they deserve their positions. And Crutchlow has to learn a new bike and a new team in that time. There will be absolutely no time for him to go off at the mouth because this season, Smith already has an eight-race head start (with a bike and a team that he already knows well) to begin showing good results.

    Smith consistently finishing ahead next season would pretty much decide Crutchlow’s future with CWM-LCR. After all, CWM-LCR will have Jack Miller’s budding future to focus on, and there can be no doubt that Miller’s development will be the main focus of the team from the start.

    Crutchlow can’t afford to lose to Miller either. If Miller on the upgraded production Honda beats Crutchlow, who is going to listen to what Crutchlow has to say? Getting his butt kicked by a rookie, one straight from Moto3, will not help Crutchlow’s bottom line one bit.

    Smith’s ability to articulate the technical minutae of why things are or are not working will be of little consequence, if his performance doesn’t yield fights for podiums for his team. Likewise, Crutchlow’s ability to effectively yadda yadda yadda his way into better situations will fall on deaf ears, if he doesn’t immediately show that he has the right stuff on the factory-backed RC213V.

    2015 will be the year of “Put Up or Shut Up” for both riders. Crutchlow’s road will not get any easier and Smith would do well to start his 2015 season this weekend at Brno.

  • smilo998

    Unlikely Monset or Red Bull will be sponsors for LCR, seeing as they have CWM as their main sponsor for next yr.

  • smilo998

    Or even Monster……

    Though it is telling how reliant motorsport is on the “energy drinks” market now, having previously been very dependent on cigarettes.

    There are already muourings that energy drinks will go the same way, given their detrimental effects on health.

    Seems the intermediate generation will be under much scrutiny next year. Cal, Smith, Bradl, Redding, Hernandez.

  • 2015 will be the year of “Put Up or Shut Up” for both riders. Crutchlow’s road will not get any easier and Smith would do well to start his 2015 season this weekend at Brno.

    That entire post was absolutely spot on. Nicely stated, L2C.