News 17 Mar 2016

Smith poised to depart Tech 3 Yamaha at season end

Team boss advises Brit his deal won't be renewed in 2017.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith has made the stunning revelation that he will depart the satellite squad at the conclusion of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship season.

Smith was sixth in the world championship last year as top of the non-factory riders, but will now have to find a new seat for 2017 as the Tech 3 team continues its tradition of developing incoming talent.

“This is the first time I’ve started the season in a situation where it looks almost certain I will be switching teams next year,” Smith said. “I’ve been with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team for five years, two in Moto2 and three in MotoGP and after this year, my fourth with them in MotoGP it looks like it’s time to move on for both parties.

“I’ve had an absolutely brilliant time with them but team boss Herve Poncharal has made it clear he will not be renewing next year, however well I do. Tech 3 is used by Yamaha to bring on young talent and I’m going to be 26 by the end of this season and much as I’d like to be, I’m no longer considered a fast young talent.

“It’s a scary situation, but it’s the way of the MotoGP paddock and gives me even more motivation, not that I needed it. It’s such an exciting situation because of my performance last season. I’m in a very strong position, which gives me so much confidence and self-belief. I slowly figured out what I needed to ride fast, although this year a few spanners have been thrown into the works with the new tyres and electronics.”

While Spaniard Pol Espargaro is in the frame to remain with Tech 3 for another campaign, Moto2 standout Alex Rins has emerged as a favourite to join the development platform according to European reports.