British rider Bradley Smith has been announced as the new test rider of Aprilia for the 2019 MotoGP season.
The KTM rider had the choice between his current team and Aprilia for a test role for the 2019 MotoGP season and he has since chosen to join the Italian manufacturer to assist in the development of the RS-GP.
Not only Smith will help the manufacturer in developing the bike but he will also have the chance to compete in MotoGP races as a wildcard in the season. It is being said, the number of wildcard appearances was crucial for the decision.
Suggestions are that KTM is to cut back on the wildcard entrants next year as it has a new satellite outfit Tech 3 to make it four bikes on the grid already. With Aprilia not having any other team using its bike, it gets more chances to field a third bike in the selected races.
Smith thus joins the regular riders Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone in Aprilia in 2019. The British rider is expected to have five wildcard appearances in the season, while he is also named to ride in the inaugural MotoE championship.
This is not his first time with the Italian manufacturer as he raced with them in the 125cc class between 2008 and 2010 seasons, taking three wins and finishing second in the championship in 2009.
On the other hand, for KTM, it leaves them with Mika Kallio as one of their test riders while they push to hire Honda rider Dani Pedrosa in the role with the Spaniard also in talks for a similar position with the Japanese manufacturer.