Moto2 graduate, Crash.net
columnist and British motocycling favourite Bradley Smith has acknowledged that now he has been 'lucky' enough to snare a plum seat on the grid in 2011 with the MotoGP-affiliated Tech 3 operation, the onus is on him to 'make the most of it'.
Following five seasons at 125cc level that yielded three victories, 20 podium finishes, nine pole positions and the runner-up laurels in the world championship two years ago, Smith has stepped things up a notch by agreeing terms to compete alongside former 125cc World Champion Mike Di Meglio at the Herve Poncharal-led outfit next year.
Palpably relishing the challenge that lies ahead, whilst the recently-turned 20-year-old concedes 2011 will be 'absolutely' a learning year for him in his new surroundings, he is determined nevertheless to shine to stake his credentials as one of motorcycling's hottest future prospects.
“I'm taking my experience and everything I've learned from my five years in 125cc,” he told Crash.net Radio
. “It's not like [it was] going into my first year in 2006 as a rookie. It's going to take a little bit of time and it's going to be difficult – but not impossible.
“[I want] to take it step-by-step, get in good form so I can start at 100 per cent from the word 'go' and then just wait and see. I want to score points in my first race, and then I've got to be looking for top tens and then top sixes. I'm not going to say I'm looking for a podium in my first year, but I've got to make sure that I'm battling there or thereabouts because the guys that I've been fighting with in the past will be right there – and if I want a job for 2012, I've got to keep on pushing!
“No-one's really been doing anything too special [in testing so far]. Being in a class where the top 20 are separated by one second means it's going to be close and it's going to be tight, but I'm ready for that. I'm just waiting for my next test on the bike, and I'm sure 20 March (the Qatar curtain-raiser) will be round very soon.
“Tech 3 are so motivated to win that there's such great morale inside the team. Obviously having MotoGP guys in the team as well, both with Colin [Edwards] and Cal [Crutchlow], it's really got the potential to be a great season – it's just down to me to put it all together now.”
Indeed, with the premier class link – and therefore, by extension, perhaps a direct path all the way to the pinnacle should things go well in Moto2 – Smith acknowledges that he is in the ideal place to showcase his talent. The rest of it is up to him.
“Absolutely,” he affirmed, when asked if joining Tech 3 represents a potential stepping-stone towards his ultimate goal of MotoGP. “To have the opportunity to be in a team that's got a MotoGP route makes it a perfect choice. I've found myself in a very lucky position. Now I've got to make the most of it.”