Poncharal: "Cal and Andrea give me cold sweats at every race!"

Friday, 25 May 2012

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 boss Hervé Poncharal reflects on last weekend’s race at Le Mans and takes stock of the eventful season so far for the French team.

After achieving fourth and fifth places in each of the first three rounds of the MotoGP™ World Championship 2012, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso were again running with the leading group last Sunday in Le Mans fighting for the podium, despite very bad weather.

With both the Brit and Italian suffering falls in the race, they finished eighth and seventh respectively, yet Poncharal was still pleased to put on a good show for the home crowd.

He spoke to motogp.com to give us his thoughts on the race and the start of the season.

Despite the bad weather, Sunday's race at Le Mans was probably the one which produced the greatest show so far this season. What did you think of the race?

"One thing is clear: Everyone hates riding in the rain. However, what we know is that a wet race can have incredible twists and surprising results, even if they do not reflect the actual performance on the track. Last year in Moto2™, Bradley Smith started 28th and finished second in Silverstone. Colin (Edwards) also got on the podium at Silverstone, eight days after breaking his collarbone. It's sometimes the lottery of racing, and we were not disappointed this weekend, as there were surprises in all three categories. That said, I'm not convinced that the race would have been as exciting without the battle between Valentino Rossi (Ducati) and Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda). Jorge (Lorenzo - Yamaha Factory Racing) was gone at the front, and Andrea, Cal and Valentino were the show, until Andrea and Cal crashed out. The Valentino and Casey skirmish on the final laps was fantastic."

Cal and Andrea have been extremely competitive since the beginning of the year. What conclusions can you draw from your start to the season?

"Our season so far has been exceptional. I never imagined that we’d find ourselves in this situation after four races. We made the front row in three out of four races, so we have shown that we are fast. In the races, we are still behind the three aliens, meaning we have been the 'best of the rest'. This is very, very good. At Le Mans, we saw that the podium was possible. Unfortunately, as is often the case when you push too hard in the rain, it does not always end as you had planned."

"But I'm not at all disappointed with what happened at Le Mans. We had a great qualifying, Cal posted the best time of the warm-up in the rain, and our two riders fought like lions with Valentino. The two best lap times in the race for Valentino and Andrea where when they chased down Casey. Andrea stayed with Valentino when they caught up to Casey, and he had hoped to stay with him until he fell off. It is always difficult in these conditions. The good news is that both riders finished the race after their falls and got some points. This is good compared to what could have happened. This is no drama. What matters is that we have been performing well throughout the weekend. We were in the thick of the action.”

Is it not tough to see Andrea Cal and neck and neck at every race?

"It gives me cold sweats at every race! Both riders, although they are very different in their ways, in terms of bike development and riding styles are always within the same times. Watching both so close in every race is not good for my heart. When it's always your two riders that are wheel to wheel it's scary! Especially since every rider always wants to beat his teammate. There is a very good atmosphere between the two but there is also a battle to be the number one Tech3 rider. This year more than ever, since there are many places open at the end of the season, and everyone wants to position themselves for a good ride in 2013."

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