Pol Espargaro has signed a new Yamaha MotoGP contract and will remain at the Tech 3 team for the 2016 season.

The Spaniard joined Tech 3 and MotoGP as the reigning Moto2 champion last year, finishing sixth in the standings as the top rookie.

But 2015 has been a tougher experience, Espargaro currently sitting just ninth in the points while team-mate Bradley Smith leads the satellite challenge in a joint fifth.

Related Articles

Re-signing Espargaro first, despite his inferior results, will naturally have irked Smith and probably explains why on Thursday the Englishman spoke out about a 'lack of enthusiasm' shown by Yamaha over his 2016 future.

While Smith's deal will be with the Tech 3 team, Espargaro has always been signed directly to Yamaha and then placed at Tech 3.

"I'm happy because renewing my contract with a factory like Yamaha is always going to be fantastic," said Espargaro. "Yamaha gave me the opportunity to make my debut in MotoGP and together, I think we had a really good first season.

"This year we are working hard to improve our results that have not been as strong as we would have liked at this point of the year. However, next season there will be some important changes in the category, such as the alterations to the technical regulations and especially, the changing of the tyre supplier.

"From my point of view, the less you change with regards to the team and the bike, the easier it will be to adapt to all of this. Despite some tricky moments this year, I know the bike and I know I can continue to work well together with Yamaha and Tech3 in order to achieve our goals.

"This announcement is also fantastic following the success at Suzuka, where we undertook some really good work together that concluded in the victory which was great for Yamaha and also for my confidence.

"Therefore, I hope that this result and the renewal of my contract will help me for the nine races that we still have left in 2015, which is the most important thing for me to focus on right now."

Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Racing, added: "I am very pleased that Pol will remain with Yamaha for next season. Pol is one of the pool of very talented young riders that will surely have a big future in the MotoGP class in years to come.

"His 2014 debut season was very strong and he achieved 6th place at the end of the year behind the riders of the Factory Teams. He has faced many difficulties in the first half of 2015 but we are still convinced that he has a big potential and remains one of the most exciting, young talents for the future.

"With his plans for next season now confirmed he can focus on putting together a strong second half of the 2015 championship with more to come next year."

Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal hopes Espargaro will now be able to true his 'true potential'.

"I am obviously more than delighted to announce that Pol Espargaro is going to remain with us for a third year in MotoGP," said the Frenchman. "We have had an incredible two seasons together and for me personally, it is like Pol has been here forever and certainly is a big part of our team.

"We love him and I really hope that next year he can show his true potential and get as close as possible to the top of the MotoGP World. Now, we hope that we can have a strong second half to 2015 in order to prepare for next season, which will be a key year for him and all of us. It goes without saying that we are very happy and proud that Pol will race in the Monster Yamaha Tech3 colours for one more year."

Factory Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo have contracts in place until the end of 2016.