Bradley Smith is looking to become Britain's first grand prix world champion since Barry Sheene in 1977, after signing to remain with the Aspar Aprilia team in the 125cc World Championship next season.
18-year-old Smith won two grands prix - and claimed seven further podiums - on his way to second in the 2009 world championship, behind team-mate Julian Simon, who will move up to the new Moto2 class next season.
columnist will be joined in the Valencia-based Aspar team by Spaniard Nico Terol who finished third in the championship.
“Obviously my goal from that very first grand prix will be to go one better and win that world championship,” explained Smith, after taking his sixth podium in a row at Valencia on Sunday. ”It will not be easy because you don't chase it but earn a world title by winning grands prix and the 125cc class always produces the unexpected.
“Somebody like Pol Espargaro or Marc Martinez will emerge from the pack and become a title contender, but after this fantastic end to the season for me I'll start the year with real confidence.
“I'm really happy to be staying with such a brilliant team as Aspar which can only get better for me. Nico Terol may be my new team-mate but he will push me really hard as he did this year.”
The 2010 season will start under the Qatar floodlights on April 11.
Bradley Smith records and milestones
• Smith's second place in the final championship standings in 2009 is the best performance across all solo classes of GP racing since Barry Sheene was second to Kenny Roberts in the 1978 500cc world championship.
• Smith's second place finish in the 2009 championship is the best performance by a British rider in the 125cc class since Chas Mortimer was second to Kent Andersson in 1973.
• Smith scored a total of 223.5 points during the 2009 season. That is the highest number of grand prix points ever achieved by a British rider in a single season.
• At the Spanish GP this year Smith became the second youngest British rider to win a grand Pprix, after Scott Redding who won at Donington in 2008.
• Smith's win at Mugello made him the first British rider to have two or more wins in a season across all the solo classes of grand prix racing since Barry Sheene in the 500cc class in 1979.