Bradley Smith has signed on for another season with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team. The British rider has extended his contract, and will continue to ride for the team in 2016.
The announcement and its timing had been widely expected, coming as it does just days before the start of the British round of MotoGP at Silverstone.
Smith had made it clear since before the summer break that he wanted to stay with Tech 3, but the contract took longer to put together than hoped.
Smith spoke of his frustration about the situation at Indianapolis, though by Brno, some progress appeared to have been made. The deal was finalized shortly after the Czech round of MotoGP, just in time to be announced at his home race.
The stumbling block to a new contract was ensuring that Smith received equal treatment with Tech 3 teammate Pol Espargaro for 2016. This had been a thorn in Smith’s side throughout the season, as upgrades such as a new chassis arrived on Espargaro’s side of the garage, but were not available for Smith.
As the Englishman has lead his teammate in the championship throughout the 2015 season, Smith felt that he too deserved better treatment from Yamaha. Talks with the factory at Indianapolis helped clear the air, opening the way for a deal to be signed.
Smith deliberately chose to sign just a one-year deal, to put him in sync with the rest of the MotoGP field. At the end of 2016, both Yamahas, both Hondas, both Ducatis, at least one Suzuki and one Aprilia seat will be open, as well as both seats at Tech 3, and possibly other satellite rides as well.
If Smith, or any other young rider, has any hope of a factory contract, the 2017 season will be their first shot at obtaining one. Silly season for 2017 is likely to start very early next year, and get very silly indeed in its early stages.
Smith is unlikely to be the only British rider announcing a contract in the run up to the Silverstone round of MotoGP.
Cal Crutchlow has signed a two-year extension of his contract with Honda, while Danny Kent and Sam Lowes could also make announcements on their future. Scott Redding could also clinch a new deal at Silverstone, but any possible switch from the Marc VDS team is still a long way from being agreed.
Photo: © 2015 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.