Bradley Smith’s MotoGP career has been saved, at least in part, after the British rider inked a deal to join Aprilia as test rider in the Italian factory’s upgraded test team next year.
The job will also offer “several wild card rides”, according to an official statement; while racing boss Romano Albesiano told Dorna TV interviewer Simon Crafar that the experienced Smith was the perfect choice, because “we are planning a different level of testing next year.”
Presently the factory test team’s role is in proving durability; but Smith would be able to bring sufficient speed to help development of the bike, currently lagging after a difficult fourth season and a new engine and chassis had not brought the hoped-for performance.
“There will be a reasonable number of wild card rides to keep the rider motivation and level,” said Albesiano.
On the same day, Yamaha informally confirmed that Jonas Folger will be the main test rider for their planned Europe-based test team for next season.