MotoGP

Tech3: Beating factory MotoGP Yamaha riders sometimes ‘uncomfortable’ – MotoGP

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Herve Poncharal has admitted that his satellite MotoGP outfit Tech3 beating the factory Yamahas on several occasions this season created some “uncomfortable” situations.

Works riders Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi both endured a frustrating 2017 campaign, while rookie Johann Zarco shone on Tech3’s year-old machine.

The Frenchman managed to beat both Vinales and Rossi six times across the course of the year, while team-mate Jonas Folger managed to do so twice.

Poncharal said the team didn’t imagine Zarco’s season “even in our wildest dreams”, but also admitted that showing up the factory squad made for some awkward moments.

“Sometimes it was a bit uncomfortable for me to be in front of them,” Poncharal said.

“I could see some faces getting a bit longer, we didn’t always get a lot of handshakes or smiles after the race but I understand.

Why Yamaha had its worst season for a decade

“We were here with two rookie riders to let them understand and learn the class, and they were here to win the championship and that didn’t happen for various reasons.

“The fact we did what we did with that [year-old] bike, pushing Yamaha engineers and two factory riders, maybe they went in a wrong direction.”

Despite Tech3’s strong season, Poncharal underlined that competing with the factory Yamaha team is not “where we’re supposed to be”, and that the priority is to help the Japanese marque win the title.

“There are four M1s on track, altogether we need to be giving as much valuable information [as possible] to the factory for them to fight for the championship,” he added.

“Always the factory team will be first. We are a Yamaha team, this the 20th consecutive season with them, I know them well, I respect them a lot.

“If we ever achieve the result [we did], it is because we have a great rider, a good team and crew, but also we have a good bike.

“So I have to thank Yamaha the way they have been supporting us.”

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