Bradley Smith is still waiting to hear from Tech 3 and Yamaha regarding their 2016 MotoGP plans, stating 'everything has been very quiet over the summer break' in terms of contract negotiations.
The Englishman, currently joint fifth in the MotoGP standings and the top satellite rider, did his chances of renewing his contract no harm by playing a key role in Yamaha's success during the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hour race.
But speaking about his 2016 situation at Indianapolis on Thursday, Smith revealed:
“I would have liked to have had some positive news to share with you, but everything has been very quiet over the summer break. I've made it very clear to my team and to Yamaha that I want to continue. There's not the same enthusiasm coming the other way at the minute. We'll have to just wait and see what happens.”
Pressed further by Crash.net
, the Englishman added: “I understand everyone goes away on holidays and this, that and the other. I mean, like I said, my enthusiasm seems to be a lot more than theirs at the minute so hopefully something changes about that.”
Teamed with MotoGP team-mate Pol Espargaro and Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga for Suzuka, Smith ensured a British rider has won the 8 Hours for the past four years. To do so however, he had to contend with riding the final stint in which the safety car made an appearance.
Asked whether it was one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences of his career, Smith said, “Yes and no. The worst thing was the safety car as well. The safety car comes out and I didn't know exactly where the 778 bike [their nearest rival] was. I was panicking and looking behind not sure where he was. Pol was trying to signal to me on the pit board but at night-time it's difficult to see.
“Basically I suppose that was the hardest thing: knowing what to do. Then I just made it clear in my mind. At the end of the day I don't go out to crash ever. So just bring it home on two wheels. The good thing was I didn't know it was the last lap which was a blessing in disguise. It was a bit like my podium in Phillip Island. When you don't know it's the last lap you can't get nervous. So I just came round the last corner and there was the chequered flag.”
Reflecting on the event, Smith believed his achievement only truly sunk in when he climbed the victor's podium.
“I enjoyed that and obviously the podium was the biggest thing. We should try and do a night-time podium in the MotoGP. It's a completely different thing. Basically we were told it's not only you. All those you guys you see inside the garage are only one part of it. Bear in mind there's a hundred people that work on that project. They made us stand in front of all of Yamaha and promise that we were going to bring home the big trophy. I was almost glad it was over.
“It [the celebrations] lasted about two and a half hours. I think by the time I finished and got outside my leathers it was three hours after the race. I was inside my leathers a total of four and a half hours. I was ready to get out. Media and then team pictures and meeting the high management to get together upstairs where all the team celebrated took about 20 minutes. Then it was a bit surreal. It was just a case of packing up everything and coming back to Europe. Back to the day job now.”
Espargaro's contract is also up for renewal although, unlike Smith, the Spaniard's contract is with the Yamaha factory rather than Tech 3.
Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal previously told Crash.net
that he would like to keep both riders for 2016.