Bradley Smith Retains Tech 3 MotoGP Ride For 2015

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 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.

Below is the press release issued by Tech 3 on Bradley Smith's new contract:

Smith and Monster Yamaha Tech3 to continue long term partnership into 2015

Monster Yamaha Tech3 are pleased to announce that current British rider Bradley Smith will remain with the French squad next season having signed for a further year to compete in MotoGP aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.

23 year old rider Smith initially joined the team in 2011 for his inaugural Moto2 season aboard the team’s self designed and built Mistral 610, having won races in the 125 cc class. After competing in the Moto2 class for two seasons and achieving some memorable results, such as fighting to a superb 2nd placed home podium at Silverstone in 2011 from 28th on the grid, Smith moved up to the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team in 2013. He accomplished a successful first year in the premier class which included three 6th place finishes and is currently in his second year, where he has achieved such honours as qualifying on the front row for the first round of the World Championship in Qatar. The British rider will continue into his fifth year with Monster Yamaha Tech3 in 2015 as he intends to resume challenging for the accolade of the leading satellite MotoGP bike.

Bradley Smith

"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. 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."

Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager

"I am very pleased to announce that Bradley Smith will remain with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for one more year. We know each other well plus he is part of the family so this will be the fifth year of us working together and he will be the second longest serving Tech3 rider behind Olivier Jacque. This year has not been easy for him so far due to the high expectations after the winter test and the first race in Qatar. But he never gave up, so together with Yamaha and Tech3 we believe he is the best choice of rider for 2015. I believe that him and Pol are getting on really well together and will push each other the strong results. I am very happy to welcome Bradley back for one more year and I hope this agreement will not only help him to finish the second half of the year in a more relaxed state of mind, but also make things exciting for the MotoGP fans watching him."

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I think I am missing something here. The tech 3 bikes are sought after rides, there is a ton of great young talent in the support classes, or even WSBK. And yet they stay with a guy that hasn't really proven anything? Yes he has shown potential, but what did he do in Moto2? I am not saying he is crap, but considering the ride he is getting I just don't understand how he keeps it.

.... I'm left wondering if a lot of the talent out there is now thinking twice of entering MotoGP, if they don't feel they can run in the top four.

With the current gap between the official factory teams and everybody else, whether that be because of the bikes, the riders, or both, it leaves me thinking that some riders now see a move to the premier class as a career risk.... It says something that Rabat, after two strong years in Moto2, with a potential championship this year, opted early to stay there. The security of a top Moto2 ride apparently being more important than the risk of an uncompetitive MGP one.

Guys like Kallio have dropped down from MGP after "not having achieved much", but those were two years spent mostly on a satellite Ducati.... that could have ended his career, if it were not for the M-VDS lifeline. His performance since switching to Kalex has been notably good.

Bradley has definitely under performed this year, but so has Jorge.... I would say last year was about average for a regular rookie, and his Moto2 performance massively eclipsed anybody else who has thrown a leg over the Mistral. It's really not a competitive bike.

So, does he deserve his ride? From Herve's perspective, I think he's probably the lowest risk, in the absence of a stand-out replacement. He has flashes of the speed required, but not the consistency, but as is usually the case with racing, you can teach a crasher to stop crashing, consistency can be developed; you can't make somebody fast.

I would agree with your analysis if it were a satellite Ducati, or a production Honda, but the Tech3 is a prototype bike that's capable of contending for the podium with the right rider.

That Smith is consistently being beaten by his rookie team mate isn't a good sign; you can get away with that if you're Dani or Vale with a proven record when a Marc or a Jorge upstages you, but if you've never shown very good results AND you're getting beaten by a rookie then I question why you have the 6th best bike on the grid.

Lorenzo has been beaten by Pol, a rookie, 4 times this season. But its widely acknowledged that he's had a mare of a season. Isn't the same true of Smith?

...he should be doing more with what he has.

I do think however that a podium on a Tech 3 today would be harder than in recent years.

Recently we have had Rossi on a Ducati, then struggling on his return to Yamaha, so that's one less to beat. On top of that, all of the other main protagonists have had injuries at some time or another, and arguably the Honda has taken a step beyond the Yamaha now. For the moment at least, you have a reasonably undamaged grid of riders.

On average, those bikes, IMO are going to come home between 5th and 7th most weeks, without an exceptional rider. But the truly exceptional, a la Marquez, will find themselves in a factory team, one way or the other.

Herve knows what bike is under his riders and how big of a gap it is to the front.

Bautista and Bradl supposedly have a podium capable bike. If you think that the satellite teams are running the exact same kit (suspension, electronic mapping, brakes etc) as the factory teams I believe there are a few bridges that I need to sell to you.

I think the Tech 3 bike is a top 7 - 9 bike. Yes 7-9. (93,26,46,99,4,19, 6, 41- remember these guys).

Think about it. If the Factory Honda has made an advance on the Factory Yamaha such that Rossi/Lorenzo are struggling to bridge the gap, then there is also a comparable gap if not larger amongst the satellite bikes.

After all of that you have to get by Bradl, Bautista, Dovi and Aleix before you can think about beating Lorenzo/Rossi/Pedrosa for a podium spot.

Let's be fair with Bradly. We've learned from Aleix that if you over ride the bike you will crash. Aleix has a bike that is just as nimble as the factory bikes over a lap or two but will not last race distance at that pace. Bradly pretty much has the same.
Bradly, Bradl and Bautista have ridden over the limit trying to stay with the Factory bikes only to crash and receive no points. Aleix learned his lesson and started finishing races.

It is pushing it a bit to think that the Tech 3 bikes are podium contenders over a Factory Yamaha, 2 Factory Spec Hondas and an hungry Dovi or Aleix.

I think it's capable of fighting for a podium, and getting the occasional one, I don't think it's actually as good as the factory bikes. I also don't think the Ducati matches up to the Hondas or Yamahas, but it's been on the podium twice already, and Dovi has been fighting for the lead at other times (while his tyres last).

The two factory Hondas are obviously better than the Tech3, same with the two factory Yamahas - no arguments from anyone. I think the LCR bike Bradl is riding is probably very close to the repsols, a true prototype, just with slightly less factory tweaking throughout the season. The two Tech3 bikes fall into the same category as the LCR, which would probably make them the 6th and seventh best bikes on the grid.

The Gresini bike is disadvantaged by it's Showa suspension and Nissin brakes - because it's the only prototype bike using them so development and setup specs are lacking.

The Forward Yamahas are disadvantaged by them only having the softer tyre for a race, and having the spec electronics. Is Aleix still using the 2012 Yamaha frame, or is he on the new custom frame now?

The Ducatis obviously aren't on the level with the rest of the factory bikes and, in my opinion, are normally on a lower level than the satellite Hondas and Yamahas; that Dovi has gotten a couple of podiums this year shows how hard he's working that bike. Remember, it's still only a revised version of the bike that Rossi rode, and it's the same bike that Cal's not exactly lighting up the field with (although you can't blame him for the mechanicals).

I was hoping someone else would get that ride who could do something with it. Bradley has failed to impress on what is arguably one of the better rides available.

I'm quite glad to be honest. I think Brad has a lot of potential, and when it clicks for him I think we'll see him get a lot of decent results. Would be a shame for him to fade into obscurity without us really seeing what he can do.

Brad seems to be one of those types that starts slow and keep learning and getting faster. Super nice guy too!

Can't hold his lack of success in Moto2 against him. The tech3 moto2 bike just wasn't up to speed. He generally beat his teammates there. Next year, all excuses are gone and he needs to finally make that last step up.. good luck Brad!

I seem to remember people saying that he had a very good rookie year last year, especially considering the out-dated machinery he was on compared to his team mate.

Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager

"I am very pleased to announce that Bradley Smith will remain with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for one more year. We know each other well plus he is part of the family so this will be the fifth year of us working together and he will be the second longest serving Tech3 rider behind Olivier Jacque. This year has not been easy for him so far due to the high expectations after the winter test and the first race in Qatar. But he never gave up, so together with Yamaha and Tech3 we believe he is the best choice of rider for 2015. I believe that him and Pol are getting on really well together and will push each other the strong results. I am very happy to welcome Bradley back for one more year and I hope this agreement will not only help him to finish the second half of the year in a more relaxed state of mind, but also make things exciting for the MotoGP fans watching him."

I'm guessing Brad will need to look for a new ride for 2016 (unless he shows Pol a clean pair of heels)...

And when consider Smith has been racing seasons old bikes (as reported on here) for his prior seasson and time in moto2, his performance had always been well regarded by team. This year yahmaha has a lot to work on and can't really expect the satellite guys, even with the wizard, to be on top of it all. As was said even world champions with all the support possible are having tough time with it. Think back to preseason (post last season) testing when Smith was given the more current bike and immediately lit it up. It's just alots changed for them since then. Glad he gets to give it another go.

Stability is good for the team just now and Smith is faster than his recent form suggests. Whilst Cruthlow did pretty good in year two It was only in year 3 that he really started to shine on the satellite Yamaha.

We focus to much on instant success with our 'want it now' culture - particularly with sportsmen and sportswomen, these guys need time to develop, there is only 1 MM93 with MM93's talent and he's always had better kit than Smith.

Now the kid can start to relax and not worry about where he is going to be next year hopefully his results will improve as his confidence grows again.

Whilst Smith's factory contracted rookie team mate has scored more points to date, I believe Smith is every bit as talented...........

I have never really beem impressed by Smith, so I have mixed feelings about this extension. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but that is all they have been. The man crashes too much and makes silly mistakes. As I look around, I definitely see some guys who have much more promise than Smith, Leon Camier being one. I think Leon is a big talent and would give that bike one hell of a ride. Melandri could certainly step up from Superbike and be immediately competitive on that machine as well. I don't think anyone in Moto3 is ready to take on a GP bike and have any kind of success with it, and the Moto2 riders that show the potential have already made their moves as far as I can tell. But I respect Herve's decision to give young Bradley one more shot. Everyone is going to be on Spec electronics next year, which should work in Smith's favor. And then all bets are off when Perelli starts supplying tires in 2016. So it really isn't the worst thing for the Tech3 team to keep things intact. You just never know when a rider is gong to have that "Ah-Ha" moment and everything starts clicking. It could happen to Bradley yet. He should at least be more relaxed now that some pressure has been taken off of his shoulders.

I was suspicious of the incredible promotion of Smith throughout his time in 125s, in stark contrast to other Brits such as Redding. Smith is clearly well connected. When his manager secured a 3 year contract with Tech3 during his first Moto2 season in which he finished 7th in the championship (a second year in Moto2 followed by 2 years in MotoGP) it was clear Smith's manager is worth every penny.

Gossip at the end of his second Moto2 season was that Poncharal was dissatisfied with Smith's performance (9th in the championship) and hoping to escape the contracted promotion to the premier class. (Learn to performance clause!)

If Redding achieves a proper bike next year (that's the technical term for something that can podium, albeit only when dealt a strong hand ;-) I hope he is somewhat vindicated.

But Redding vs Smith is not at the forefront of the issue. A perfectly good satellite seat is going wasted on a rider with a lacklustre 2 year history on the bike in an era where decent seats truly are at a premium!

MotoGP championship standings as at the conclusion of the round 10 - Indianapolis:
6. Pol Espargaro (78, -172; top satellite)
9. Bradley Smith (58, -192)
12. Scott Redding (40, -210; top open rules)

N.B. Pol is in his first year in the premier class in the same team and with the same equipment as Smith.

I don't mean to be nit-picky but the top open rules rider has been Aleix Espargaro, who was ahead of every single satellite bike before his retirement at Indy and currently sitting on 77 points (just 1 shy of Pol).

Fast in practice + Bad Race Results = Very good test rider

BTW, is this how the original press-release actually was written?
"There’s been a lot of emotion in resigning so I’m really happy with the end result and that everything is finally sorted."

resigning = quitting
re-signing = signing again

It was only recently when Poncharel stated that he liked Brad but he was not running a charity. The words he uses were...

"Competition is a bitch and this isn't the Red Cross"

Obviously Dorna prefer to make money from Pay TV providers in order to make dollars for Canadian retiree's and Bridgepoint Capital, at the expense of promoting the sport to a wider audience than the present fan base who might be willing to pay to watch.

A similar motivation appears to be behind Dorna's enthusiasm to see Jack Miller in Moto GP.

Boo Hiss!!!!

The argument that Dorna somehow essentially 'forced' Bradly Smith due to wanting Pay TV is nonsense.

Firstly, contracts for the UK are signed and settled. Smith's presence in 2015 will have zero bearing. This is entirely different to Miller's presence helping in Australia. Thgat contract is for next season.

Beyond that, there are two other Brits arguably both with a higher profile.

The final retort comes from your own statement: Poncheral stating it is not a charity. Yet you seem to suggest despite this that is what has happened.

I boo hiss your boo hiss.

That crash interview is really good.

The fact that Herve mentions multiple times (betraying his annoyance) that several riders/managers told him they were free for 2015 when they weren't, kind of makes me think David was basically right... Herve couldn't find anyone better.

He's obviously not horrible but the question is has he earned the best second tier ride? I don't think so when you look at the history of top riders that have lost theirs, including that money magnet, Rossi.

I think he is a very fast rider but doesn't have that warrior spirit. Same as Nicky. But there are very few current racers in the same paddock that are better. Bradl has had enough chances. Who else on the open bikes would do any better?

I believe that Tech3 have not committed a terrible mistake by signing Bradley Smith again. Given the fact that Moto2 is for all practical purposes a glorified one make race which somehow does not seem to be able to indicate any true talent, it is fine that Moto2's finest are not being taken too seriously. Those who have come into MotoGP as Moto2 champs have (with the exception of Marc Marquez) have all slid down the drain (Pol Espargaro isn't really shining in my mind, he is just about okay, thus far) and that makes me wonder what purpose Moto2 is serving. Obviously the racing seems close but then that is the case with the Red Bull Rookies as well. I cannot think of people saying, "oh the other races are so processional so let us watch the Red Bull Rookies races". Right now Dorna is tripping and falling like a half blind person in a room full of furniture and no light. I initially thought that Dorna taking control of WSBK was good and that they would have sorted out the overlaps between the two series. Dorna is only compounding the problem. My suggestion, make MotoGP two stroke again and let WSBK be four stroke. And if the question is what use is two stroke technology in these days, then my cynical reply would be of what use are sports like football, rugby, gridiron, cricket, hockey etc but a more conciliatory reply will be maybe two stroke racing can give a fresh lease of life to two stroke engines. Believe me many in the world will be very happy about that.

The signing of Smith in the first place was the big mistake by Tech 3. I guess Herv couldn't say no to Dorna and a big bag of money.

In a couple of years no one will remember Smith...

Can we discuss Herve's wonderful pile of hair? I don't think it receives the paddock chatter it deserves.

As for Bradders. he has titanium balls. He rides fast. He's very candid about his weaknesses and no matter how critical some of us fans are of him, he's much more critical of himself. So for me - congratulations for him. He has speed, he has talent, he just needs to put the puzzle pieces together. This world of instant gratification has to remember that taming a wild 250bhp MotoGP monster might just take more than 1.5 seasons when up against the very best riders the world has ever seen.

Go Bradley Go. Kick ass, take names, buy Herve a comb as a thank you gift.

American Highside will be rooting for you.

... but this has to be looked at as an extraordinary bonus season for one of the most sought-after seats on the grid. I hope he takes advantage of it and makes a step, because he's unlikely to find another ride in MotoGP if he doesn't start hounding the top 4 next season. Dovi and Cal (and even Edwards!) proved the Tech 3 bikes can fight for the podium, so should Smith.

...and only scored 3 podiums in 33 races. He finished 7th and 9th in his 2 seasons in Moto 2, and somehow scores a ride in the best non factory Moto GP team. : /

He finished an unimpressive 10th in his first Moto GP season, well behind Crying Cal Crutchlow, who finished a respectable 5th, and this year is being shown up by debutante Pol Esparargo, who obviously earned his Tech 3 ride.

Obviously rider skill is not the determining factor in who gets the best rides. If Brad was Spanish he would probably be riding for a lowly Moto2 team.

BT Sport and Dorna obviously think it worth their while to pay plenty to have a Brit in a top team, in order to get Brit fans to pay up to follow them on Pay TV. Herve' obviously need to make a dollar but surely can't like having to do it.

is the best that can be expected from Tech 3. There is no way they can be expected to beat the factory Honda's/Yamaha's. A podium may be possible but that's different from expectations.
No-one on any bike is undeserving of the ride IMO. Bradley is very aware of the need to stay upright and finish well within the top 10. That's been stated several times.
He is, clearly, liked and respected by the team (the really telling bit), but performance has to match his good points.
He has matured much like Redding as a person in my view (that's good!). He is both comfortable and informative in interviews, and I now think he is capable of doing what Tech 3/Yamaha need.
The Moto 2 bike isn't a winner, so his performance there cannot be used to criticise his 'not winning/getting podiums'.
The team's views tell a story and being re-signed underlines his capability.
Poncheral would be daft not to speak to other riders when he has a seat available, but perhaps his experience of being 'messed about' by them also says something about his liking for Smith and his final decision.
Smith has something to prove, so a 2 year deal was going to be very unlikely.
I'm pleased for him.