After two respectable, albeit not exactly headline-grabbing, seasons in Moto2, Tech 3 came good on its promise to promote Bradley Smith to the upper echelons of motorcycle racing in 2013, with the young Briton doing his best to grasp an excellent opportunity.
While some were quick to make comparisons with fellow Moto2 graduate (and eventual champion) Marc Marquez or podium scoring team-mate Cal Crutchlow, Smith kept his head down throughout some difficult early season moments - including a nasty hand injury at Mugello - and emerged to plot a broadly upward trajectory.
By the end of the season, Smith - riding the lowest spec M1 on the grid - had the measure of the factory Ducatis and cracked the top six on three occasions. Smith scored points in all but three races, then turned a rapid pace on Yamaha upgrades at the post-season Valencia test.
After the solid if unspectacular maiden season, Smith effectively assumed team leader status at Tech 3 Yamaha in Cal Crutchlow's absence in 2014. But although he would end the year two positions higher, he was left behind new rookie team-mate Pol Espargaro.
Smith seemed distracted by mid-season speculation over his future, leading to a spate of accidents - most notably at a disastrous Sachenring weekend. But Herve Poncharal kept faith in Smith and, settled by a new contract for 2015, went on to claim a maiden podium during an incident-packed Australian Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, Smith came into 2015 with plenty to prove - and would confound his critics.Tempering an upturn in speed with marvellous consistency, Smith finished every race inside the top ten, peaking with a second career podium in the tricky conditions of Misano.
More than that, given the factory bikes he was up against, Smith breached them on numerous occasions with ten top six finishes over the course of the year, leaving him just seven points shy of the overall top five and comfortably clear of Espargaro.