British MotoGP stars Bradley Smith and Scott Redding will begin their respective 2010 world championship campaigns with their first tests of the season at Barcelona in Spain this week.
Gloucester-based teenager Redding will ride his Marc VDS Moto2 machine for the first time on Wednesday around the 2.9-mile Circuit de Catalunya, whilst Smith – who finished as runner-up in last year's 125cc World Championship – will get his own preparations underway the following day aboard his Bancaja Aprilia.
It will be an important test for Redding, the youngest rider ever to win a grand prix, as he joins the new Moto2 600cc four-stroke class that replaces 250cc in 2010. His season got off to a bright start when he passed his driving test last week.
“I think I will really suit the Moto2 machine because I was getting too tall for the 125cc,” explained the 2008 125cc British Grand Prix-winner. “I can't wait to get started with the new team and on the new bike!
“I've worked really hard on my fitness over the winter, and I just want to get going after all the uncertainty about who I would be riding for at the end of last season. I'm feeling very positive about 2010 after such a tough season last year.”
Nineteen-year-old Smith, meanwhile, returns from training in the Californian sunshine to join his new team-mate Nico Terol in the two-day test. Last year, the Oxfordshire teenager triumphed in two grands prix and secured nine podium finishes en route
to second spot in the 125cc world title standings.
“Basically, Barcelona will be a chance to get riding again,” revealed Smith, who will go back to California to continue his training after the test. “It's going to be tough to get back in the swing of riding, so I will take it step-by-step. I'm sure we will have some parts to test, and it will be nice to start up the Aprilia and get back on-track after three months.”
Britain's third MotoGP rider, Kent teenager Danny Webb, will start his 125cc championship challenge with his new Spanish-based WRB team at the Valencia test in Spain on 1 March.
The first grand prix of the season will take place under the Qatar floodlights on April 11.