Bradley Smith will graduate to MotoGP in 2013 after agreeing to a three-year deal with Tech 3 that includes a further year in Moto2 before he steps up to the top level.
The 20-year-old Briton is currently sixth in the Moto2 standings for Tech 3 in his first year in the category. He moved to the series after five seasons in 125cc, the highlight of which was second in the 2009 title race. His new contract with Tech 3 guarantees a MotoGP race seat for 2013 and '14 after one more year in the intermediate category.
"I am thrilled to have signed a three-year deal with the Tech 3 Racing Team and I am looking forward to continuing the excellent relationship we've developed in 2011," said Smith. "I have a fantastic relationship with [team boss] Herve [Poncharal], my crew chief Tom Jojic and all my crew, who all have an amazing passion for racing. It is that dedication and desire to succeed that convinced me to join Tech 3 in 2011, so to be staying until the end of 2014 is the perfect scenario for me.
"There was never any doubt in my mind that Tech 3 would be the best option to develop my career. It has been flattering to have attracted interest from so many top teams in Moto2, but the opportunity to move to MotoGP in 2013 was simply too good for me to turn down.
"To think I'll be riding a Yamaha 1000cc MotoGP bike just over a year from now is hard to believe. I've worked so hard for many years to earn the chance to be given an opportunity like this, and now that it has come I intend to grab it with both hands."
Smith confirmed that Tech 3 had initially asked him to move straight into MotoGP for 2012, as it has a seat available alongside Cal Crutchlow following Colin Edwards' move to Forward Racing's new MotoGP project.
"Tech 3 gave me the chance to move to MotoGP in 2012 and it was an honor to be even considered at this stage of my career," said Smith. "The decision to stay in Moto2 was one of the hardest of my life but I believe that together, we can be fighting at the front from the start of next season and pushing to challenge for the championship."