Bradley Smith To Become Aprilia MotoGP Test Rider

As the Silly Season for riders is almost complete, the test rider market is starting to take shape. The first official announcement came today, as Aprilia announced that Bradley Smith will be taking on a role as test rider for the MotoGP project for the Italian factory.

Smith had told the media yesterday that he felt like he still had work left to do in the MotoGP paddock. "At the end of the day I feel like I have a lot to offer," Smith said. "Also I’m not done. When you’re not done, the motivation is high. I’ve said before I want to be back inside this paddock full-time in 2020. The motivation is high to help the whole project and ride well myself and put myself in the shop window. As long as that’s managed in the right way in the team structure, it’s certainly not a negative thing to be [a test rider]. Having wildcards available is always a good incentive for the rider and also a good incentive for the project. Everyone pushes on and pushes forward." 

Smith had also been in the running for the job of test rider inside Yamaha's new European test team, but that option disappeared during the British GP. "In Silverstone the final nail in the coffin came from Lin Jarvis when he said there would be no British rider as a test rider," Smith said. With Smith out of contention there, that means that Jonas Folger is almost certain to take the role with Yamaha as test rider.

Suzuki will have Sylvain Guintoli working as a test rider for them next year, while Michele Pirro will continue at Ducati. Mika Kallio will return with KTM, though the Austrian factory are also trying to persuade Dani Pedrosa to take on a role alongside Kallio. Stefan Bradl is likely to return with HRC as test rider. At Ducati, Casey Stoner is leaving the Italian factory at the end of the season, though there is no sign of whether he wishes to continue as a test rider.

The Aprilia press release appears below:


Aprilia's home GP at Misano Adriatico is also the chance for an important formalisation. MotoGP rider Bradley Smith will join the Aprilia Test Team for 2019 and will also compete astride the RS-GP in a series of wild cards during next season. The arrival of the British rider, runner-up 125 champion in 2009 on Aprilia, is part of the racing department's reorganisation and reinforcing process to consolidate the Aprilia MotoGP project.

Bradley Smith, born in 1980, took his first steps in motorcycle racing at a very young age in motocross, later making his début in the single-brand Aprilia Superteens where he was quickly in the limelight. He moved up to the 125 World Championship class in 2006, taking his first podium finish the following year. He was then runner-up champion in the category in 2009, whereas in 2011 and 2012 he raced in the intermediate Moto2 class. In his MotoGP experience, begun in 2013, he has finished twice on the podium and taken a series of top 10 placements. His trophy collection also includes one from the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours, won in 2015.


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That was the original Aprilia press release, cut and pasted. Looks like an unfortunate typo on their part. 

Same laptop that they plug into their salad box? Maybe we have discovered the reliability issue?

Great move for all involved. Smith will be a good test and dev rider for them. He knows a lot, and articulates well. Experience and familiarity with a top level bike. Motivated. Knows current tires. Can get a MotoGP machine on the pace.

If Smith goes MotoE he could be poised as a stand out contender.

He puts himself in a very good position to pick up the crumbs if Iannone loses the plot and is sacked. He will be a great test rider and hopefully it buys him time to return to being a great racer. 

Whether Bradley achieves his ambition in full or remains a highly valued test rider, the respect and admiration for him runs wide across the motogp fanbase. The interviews he has given to motomatters and other publications, and the high regard he has with his team mates, underline what a smart and hard working rider he is and how free he is of pretence and bravado. I love how honest he has been in interviews and how little he is playing the politics of the sport when he speaks to the fans. As usual Motoshrink gets it right when he says that Bradley '...articulates well...' and I know that his media comments have helped me understand the sport. I reckon his honest and itelligent feedback will really improve Aprilia's fortunes.