Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal believes an additional year in Moto2 will ensure that Bradley Smith is competitive in the top class from the outset when he steps up to MotoGP in 2013.
It was announced today that current Tech 3 Moto2 rider Smith had agreed to a new three-year deal with the squad that would see him stay in the intermediate category for another season before racing in MotoGP in 2013 and '14.
Tech 3 had initially hoped to promote Smith straight into its MotoGP lineup for 2012, when it needs a new partner for Cal Crutchlow due to Colin Edwards' move to Forward Racing. But Poncharal said he now believed that Smith's preference for a second year of Moto2 would be good preparation.
"Bradley has made an immediate impact in Moto2 this year and we all know it is a very difficult class," said Poncharal. "The rules mean that rider talent plays a crucial role in determining the results, and Bradley has shown he has the speed, talent and commitment to match the best. He has shown the true potential of the Mistral 610 machine with some phenomenal performances this season, and we are in no doubt that in 2012 he can be a genuine title contender before he makes the step to MotoGP.
"One more year in Moto2 will help him gain more valuable experience, so that when he moves to our MotoGP team in 2013, he will be immediately competitive.
"I am convinced that with Bradley's long-term commitment to Tech 3 Racing that we can look forward to a long and successful relationship together."
Poncharal feels that 20-year-old Briton Smith, who is currently sixth in Moto2 having taken three podium finishes in his rookie season, is one of the leading talents in motorcycling's feeder classes.
"Without doubt, we have managed to secure the services of one of the brightest young talents in the world and I am thrilled that Bradley has put his trust in Tech 3 to help him accomplish his dream of racing in MotoGP," said Poncharal. "We know he had a lot of interest inside the paddock because of the way he has performed this season, so it is a big compliment to Tech 3 that he chose to commit himself to us until the end of 2014 at least."