Aprilia test driver, Bradley Smith, could take the seat of Andrea Iannone at the Italian MotoGP team if the doping accusations held against the latter are finally confirmed.
Iannone’s results from a second urine test he was subjected to on the 7th of January are still pending, but his team already has a possible substitute on the cards.
The Italian team is obviously eager to have a ‘contingency plan’ in place so as to avoid a hypothetical sanction that would leave them with only one pilot, the Catalan Aleix Espargaró, to receive checkered flag.
Faced with the possible suspension of Iannone by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), the most popular name to take his place was that of Czech pilot Karel Abraham but his chances now have been outweighed by the new candidate.
After the initial blow that was the accusations thrown against their pilot, the Italian team would have made a move and approach Bradley Smith. According to various sources, the Briton would be the best placed to take the seat – perhaps temporarily- of his colleague from Vasto.
Currently, the racer from Oxfordshire works as a development pilot in the Venetian squad and so he knows perfectly well the working dynamics of the team as well as the bike that they use in MotoGP.
It is precisely that extra experience which could be the deciding factor in choosing Iannone’s replacement if required.
An intense 2019 for Bradley Smith
At just 29 years of age, this past 2019 Smith has combined his job at the Venetian team with his participation in several competitions. One of the most significant ones was his performance at the first edition of the MotoE World Championship (which uses only electric bikes) where he finished second in the standings, spraying champagne.
He also took part in four appointments of the MotoGP World Championship with the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini and in one Moto2 race onboard a Kalex belonging to Petronas Sprinta Racing.
It is important to note that the addition of the Briton could only be a temporary solution and last until the end of the upcoming season at most.
Some sources point to a hipothetical sanction of between three to six months for Iannone making Smiths candidacy ideal. Moreover, Aprilia will try and hire some new talent with which to revitalize their project once all of the contracts on the grid expire at the end of 2020.
Bradley Smith’s career
Bradley Smith has competed in the World Championship for eighteenth seasons since his debut year in 2006 with the 125 cc Repsol Honda team. After five years in the no longer existent category, where he came second in 2009, he made the jump to Moto2 in 2011.
In the ranks of Tech Racing Moto2, he finished in seventh place in 2011 and two positions below that in 2012. Following that adventure, he had the opportunity to debut in MotoGP in 2013 with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 where he remained until the end of 2016 achieving a sixth place in 2015 as his best result.
The following season he became part of the incipient Red Bull KTM Factory Racing project with whom he got the 21st position in 2017 and the 17th a year after that. Following those results, he abandoned both the Austrian team and the championship.