Bradley Smith is a little like MotoGP’s Charlie Brown. The fictional woe-begotten American cartoon character was almost friendless, and operated in an environment where children, teachers and even his dog had little respect for or faith in him. Rarely invited to any parties, Brown spent most of his cartoon childhood being shunned or criticized.
At Indianapolis, Smith’s career seemed to be in full Charlie Brown mode. Smith’s Spanish teammate Pol Espargaro signed a new MotoGP deal with Yamaha before the Indy round of the world championship. At Indy, Smith spoke out bitterly saying that Yamaha had clearly made it a priority to sign his teammate but hadn’t found the motivation to re-sign him. After the event Smith said that he’d probably “said too much” inferring that he may have left his Yamaha bosses miffed. Insiders suggested at Indy that Yamaha had penciled Smith in for a ride on a proposed 2016 World Superbike squad.
Indy 2015 was actually better on the job front for Smith than 2014 was–at the ’14 Indy event, on the subject of whether he had been re-signed by Tech 3 or not, he consoled himself by saying that “they haven’t found anyone else to ride the bike yet”.
Smith is bright, articulate and entertaining off the bike and fast and capable while on the machine. However, anyone who has worked in a job where politics or your next mistake may cost you your job can empathize with Smith’s lot. While Tech 3 has always spoken well of the British rider, re-signing him to a long term contract, or an early-renewal, always seems to be something that they can put off until tomorrow. Smith had a big part in handing Yamaha their Suzuka 8 Hours victory in July, yet even then still no new contract came his way.
24-year old MotoGP rider Bradley Smith has signed—or will this week—a new Tech 3 Yamaha deal that will see him race in MotoGP for the 2016 season.
Smith’s new deal will expire at the end of 2016, putting him basically in the same position of vulnerability next season, unless he is able to string together some podium finishes or a win.
With some race success, Charlie Brown, er, Smith, might find some unexpected party invitations in his mailbox. Who knows, maybe even his dog will show him some respect.