Aprilia Racing Team Gresini's home race at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli is a good stage for some big news: MotoGP™ rider Bradley Smith will join the Aprilia Test Team for 2019. The role will also include a series of wild cards during next season. The arrival of the British rider, runner-up in the 125 Championship in 2009 on an Aprilia, is part of the racing department's reorganisation and reinforcing process to consolidate the young and growing Aprilia MotoGP™ project.
Smith took his first steps in motorcycle racing in motocross, later making his debut in the single-brand Aprilia Superteens, where he was quickly in the limelight. He moved up to the 125 World Championship in 2006, taking his first podium finish the following year. He was then runner-up in the category in 2009, and in 2011 and 2012 raced in the Moto2™ class. In MotoGP™, he has finished twice on the podium and taken a series of top tens. His trophy collection also includes one from the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours, won in 2015.
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager, spoke to Simon Crafar in pitlane during FP1 for his thoughts - and also highlighted Smith's testing prowess, seen most recently in his development work with the KTM RC16.
"Bradley showed us a very good attitude, he is a very good tester and a very good rider," says the Italian. "We are planning different levels of testing next year."