British 125cc grand prix star Bradley Smith intends to stay with the Polaris World Aprilia team for the 2009 world championship, but a switch to the title-winning Aspar outfit is also possible.

The 17-year-old's third season of grand prix racing, and first with Polaris and Aprilia, has so far produced three podium finishes and seventh in the championship standings.

But that ranking would be much higher had it not been for three non-scores and Smith's raw speed has resulted in seven front row starts - including three poles - from the 13 rounds so far held.

Related Articles

"Nothing has been signed for next year yet," Bradley's father, Allan, told

"The main thing is to stay with Polaris; they are a great team with really good people - from the management down - and have been very good to Brad. Even when he was crashing there was never a problem, all they ever asked was 'are you okay?'

"If Brad had more experience, and a little less bad luck with things like the weather, then I think Brad would have won two or three races this year. He might even have won first time out for the team at Qatar, when he was fastest in every session but had a steering damper problem in the race.

"However, if Polaris decided not to continue next year and no new sponsor steps in then it may not be possible to stay."

Smith believes that there is no question of Polaris World, a Spanish property company that owns seven resorts, being 'forced' out of grand prix racing and that the decision will be based on marketing strategy.

"Polaris is a big company with a lot of private money and they can race next year if they want to," he explained. "It'll just come down to whether, with the economic downturn, Polaris decides it should spend four million euros on racing or use it on something like mainstream TV advertising instead.

"There are some interesting things going on behind the scenes, approaches from various manufacturers, so there's also a chance the team will be changing machinery," Allan revealed. "What happens will be a business decision and the team needs to examine all its options."

Such uncertainty over the future participation of Polaris prompted Bradley's management company to look for other options, resulting in positive interest from Jorge Martinez 'Aspar', whose team finished first and second in the 2007 world championship with Gabor Talmacsi and Hector Faubel.

"Bradley has got new management, WMG [Wasserman Media Group]. They are the company Randy Mamola is associated with. WMG got a bit 'windy' because there has been no positive reply from Polaris yet regarding next year, so they wanted to make sure there were other options in place for Bradley. They started looking around and that's where the rumours [about a switch to Aspar] have come from," said Smith.

"At present the two top teams in 125 are Polaris and Aspar, so it's a good position to be in," Smith admitted. "Aspar has proven championship success, while Polaris won five races with Mattia Pasini last year and this year they've turned Brad from a top ten rider to a podium rider.

"It's a great compliment that Aspar is interested in Brad and is talking about possibly running a bike for him. Especially as Aspar has got a lot of top riders already signed and soon they will be the only team in the paddock racing in 125, 250 and MotoGP.

"We also think Brad could learn a lot from former grand prix racer Gino Borsoi, who has a management position at the Aspar team. He tests their bikes and that means he can help solve any problems. Raul Jara was helpful to Brad in a similar position at [Repsol] Honda.

"Bradley's not worried about next year though. He's training as usual and is fully focussed on getting podiums and perhaps a race win from the last four rounds of this year," Smith added.

Allan aims to have his son's future decided by the forthcoming Japanese Grand Prix, at Motegi on September 28, and is already relishing the prospect of seeing two young British riders battling at the front of the 2009 world championship.

"Next year there will be two young British riders, Scott [Redding] and Brad, who will be just 16 and 18, riding full factory machines," he said. "So there will be a chance not only of podiums and race wins, but also a British one-two. That would be incredible."

Beyond 2009, Smith sees the impending change from 250cc two-strokes to 600cc four-strokes as a perfect opportunity for Bradley to advance up a class.

"Brad will be in 125 next year. You can't really go to 250 unless you have RSA [factory] machines and that's not an option yet, but we're also keeping one eye on when the new four-stroke class will start," he revealed.

"The latest we've heard is that Honda will produce all the engines and electronics for the new class and that it could happen one year earlier than expected, in 2010.

"That will be a great time for Brad to move because although the established [250cc] riders will have experience of handling a bigger bike the four-strokes will be new for everybody."