In February, the MotoGP paddock was rocked when long time Yamaha satellite team Tech 3 announced they would no longer be racing Yamaha bikes after 2018. This ended an alliance that began back in 2001, which had grown to be one of the most enduring partnerships in all of MotoGP. This split also ignited fears that the paddock might be losing one of its most successful satellite teams. Luckily, Herve Poncharal has a plan.
Tech 3 and Yamaha Split Ways
The French team Tech 3 had basically grown into the factory junior team of factory Yamaha. Often the team would get the latest hand offs from the factory team, and those technical boons were enough to make rookie GP rider Johann Zarco sail off to several podiums in 2017. This made Tech 3 eager for the 2018 season as they assumed that Yamaha would shower Zarco with more tech in order to get the racer his first MotoGP win. This wasn’t in the cards for Yamaha.
After refusing to give extra factory support to Zarco—something that both Honda and Ducati had done for Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci - Poncharal and his team had apparently had enough. They amicably split ways with Yamaha, but left the racing public wondering what manufacturer, if any, would the team move on to. That question was answered on March 5th.
In joint statements, KTM and Tech 3 announced that they would be joining forces from 2019 and onward. This deal will see the team working with the KTM to field RC16 for at least three years. Many believe that Tech 3 will enjoy much more factory support than what the manufacturer had with Yamaha, and the team’s experience could help catapult KTM to new heights. This deal will also help KTM’s development efforts, providing the factory with data from four bikes instead of just two.
Will this new alliance shake up the MotoGP grid? Could Tech 3’s actions embolden other satellite teams? The 2018 MotoGP season is about to begin, and your motorcycling attorneys can’t wait to see what thrills unfold!