An 800bhp V12 and all-wheel steer lie beneath a classic single-seater body. Wow
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Bradley Smith: 'I’m a big fan of Rolls-Royce'
TG speaks to British bike racer Bradley Smith about his passion for cars, his rallying dream, and what F1 can learn from MotoGP
MotoGP went to Silverstone last weekend for the British round of the world’s premier bike series. We took the opportunity to speak to Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith, a 24-year-old Brit racer with big ambitions.
Rather than enjoy the summer break you went and won the Suzuka 8 Hours…
Yeah, I don’t like to stop! It’s a physical challenge that I’ve always wanted to do; 37 degrees outside, 60 degrees track temperature, racing a 1000cc motorcycle for over an hour at a time. We won it in our very first go, having never seen the bike or the circuit. It was a fun thing to do.
I think being versatile is really important. I was at a different track, racing against different riders, working with different people and new components that I’m not used to. While it might not directly link to what I do now, it’s all experience I can draw on.
My focus is MotoGP, but for my portfolio it’s proved I can ride a production bike, which means World Superbikes is a possibility. It’s just adding extra branches to the tree.
Would you like to try racing on four wheels, then?
It’s something I really want to do. I was actually going to try the Porsche Carrera Cup, but they were a bit worried because I was only 19 at the time, and it didn’t work out.
I really like rallying, that seems to be my cup of tea. Single-seat racing is something I could soon understand, but the level of those guys is high, and the G forces are something you have to grow up with. Rallying is something I’ve seen other guys take to, and I’m a motocrosser at heart too, so the off-road aspect is something I’d love.
So cars are a passion for you?
Cars are something that I do. I’m a big fan of Rolls-Royce! I think it’s because my granddad had one when I grew up, so I always saw that as a really classy car. At the end of the day, I have a 265bhp motorcycle that can do 0-60mph in under three seconds. I don’t need a car to do that, so I look at the elegance more than anything else.
Though I did get to go in Ken Block’s Hoonicorn. He took me around drifting. It was amazing! My eyes just popped out my head when he flicked it sideways. Cars give you a buzz no doubt about it.
So what do you drive?
I actually have a Volkswagen Transporter van! Just because it’s so convenient. I load my motorbikes in there all the time. Without sounding weird it’s like a family car. My lifestyle means I have two suitcases on the go the whole time, plus a bicycle and a motocross bike, and my kit bags as well.
I have a little 50cc scooter too, which takes me from my apartment to my gym. I’m all about the practicality, the easier I can make my life the better! I get my thrills on the track.
Are you an F1 fan, and what could the sport learn from MotoGP?
I love Formula 1 from a technical standpoint: I’m a complete geek. I love the attention to detail. I try and focus on that in my career as much as possible.
In terms of racing, though, it is very boring. But I know how talented all those guys are. It’s up to the organisers to make regulations which allow it to be closer. It’s quite a procession, let’s say.
In MotoGP we race at 100 per cent from start to finish; if you speak to F1 drivers at the moment, they’ll tell you they can be driving at 50 per cent. That’s no fun for a driver. They’re driving round with their hands tied, and that’s got to be very frustrating for them.
Bradley Smith races for the Yamaha Tech 3 team and represents Tissot watches.