It has been officially confirmed that Bradley Smith will become an Aprilia MotoGP test rider next season.

As was rumoured, the Englishman - who has lost his factory KTM race seat to Johann Zarco - will now help Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone develop the RS-GP as well as racing as a wild-card 'in a series' of MotoGP events.

Smith is also expected to race in the new electric MotoE championship next year. The identity of the team is not yet confirmed, but paddock rumours suggest it could be the Sepang squad.

A triple 125cc winner and Moto2 podium finisher, Smith joined the premier-class with Tech3 in 2013, spending four years with Yamaha during which he took two podiums and a best of sixth overall in the 2016 world championship.

The #38 joined the new KTM project for 2017 and took a pair of tenth place finishes last season. Smith equalled that result in Germany this year and, although he has known since May that he would lose his RC16 seat, has been race-testing 2019 parts for the Austrian factory following injuries to both team-mate Pol Espargaro and test rider Mika Kallio.

Smith was on the list of possible KTM test riders for next season, but the factory's decision not to run wild-cards meant Smith - who is keen to try and regain a full-time MotoGP seat - looked elsewhere. With the Yamaha test seat expected to go to Jonas Folger, Smith moved in on the Aprilia deal.

Countryman Scott Redding, who has lost his race seat to Iannone, had also been in contention for the Aprilia testing job, but his chances weren't helped by some strong comments after Austria.

It remains to be seen if KTM will still want Smith to race-test 2019 parts for the remainder of this season. Aprilia, conscious that Aleix Espargaro's crew chief Marcus Eschenbacher is joining KTM next year, has given Espargaro a new crew mechanic from this weekend at Misano. 

 

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