With Bradley Smith substituting for Andrea Iannone at the Aprilia MotoGP team for at least the start of this season, the Englishman has been replaced at the WithU MotoE squad by Jakub Kornfeil.

Smith finished second for the Sepang team in last year's inaugural electric-bike FIM World Cup and had intended to return in 2020, alongside his Aprilia test and wild-card duties.

However, Iannone's ongoing suspension combined with the rescheduled race calendar means Smith is now unable to take part in both classes.

"I am sad on the one hand, because I would have liked for [Smith] to have been fighting for great results in MotoE again," said WithU team principal Matteo Ballarin. "But on the other hand I am very happy for him. He has a great opportunity in MotoGP and I hope he will achieve great results - and that we celebrate it together."

Meanwhile, Kornfeil had looked set to hang up his helmet after a ten-year grand prix career, all spent in the 125/Moto3 class, but will now be reunited with some of the Sepang team he raced for in 2015 and 2016.

"I have no words to describe what I feel at this moment. I want to thank the WithU Motorsport team for the opportunity they are giving me; to be honest I didn’t expect it at this moment in the year," said the Czech.

"I have worked with some of the team members in the past and I’m really excited to meet up with them again and be part of such a big family, with great riders in all classes. I’m ready for this new challenge and I will give my all.

My first contact with the MotoE bike will be at Jerez during the Spanish GP week, so I will have to adapt quickly to a completely new bike and competition. From this moment on, I will train with big bikes to get used to the similar size.

"My target for 2020 is to to take steps forward day-by-day and ride faster every time I go out on track. I’m going to work hard to achieve all expectations and enjoy this great opportunity."

Kornfeil,27, has contested a 182 Grands Prix, earning five podiums and one pole position. He will make his MotoE debut during the Official test at Jerez next month, just before the season opening race weekend.

"We welcome Jakub, a rider with a lot of experience in the Moto3 World Championship and in whom we trust to take great results in MotoE," Ballarin said. "We have great support from our partners in the Czech Republic and I hope that together we can have a great year.

"Jakub will go into the first race at Jerez with very few laps under his belt with a MotoE bike, but it is a very young competition where not many riders have raced yet.

"We are confident about having a great season; Last year we saw how those who looked strongest at the beginning of the year were not the champions at the end, so that could happen in 2020 too.

"We face a very busy schedule, with consecutive races on the same circuit -7 races at 3 tracks- and end the season at Le Mans instead of Valencia. We also have crews reduced to just two people. We will do our best to succeed."

 

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