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Strong year for satellites

Strong year for satellites

The 2015 season has seen three manufacturer’s take podiums with both satellite and factory bikes.

Yamaha, Honda and Ducati are the three manufactures that run both a factory and satellite team in the MotoGP™ World Championship. The factory teams consist of Movistar Yamaha, Repsol Honda and the Ducati Team, the best riders on the best material. Each of these three manufactures also have a satellite team, or two in the case of Honda, filled with up and coming riders placed there to be nurtured for future factory success and help gather more data.

In past years there's been a smattering of non-factory podium finishes from the likes of Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista and Colin Edwards, producing stellar rides to overcome their factory counter parts. In 2012 Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow finished on the podium with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team a total of eight times between them, one of the most successful years for a satellite team.

Alvaro Bautista also finished on the podium twice in 2012; Yamaha and Honda have each had a satellite rider on the podium at least once since 2011. The 2015 season has seen Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Scott Redding (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) produce podium finishes, a great year for satellites and the first season in over half a decade that the three manufacturers have all had satellite podiums. Rain acts as the great equaliser in racing, Petrucci able to show his true potential in a soaking wet British GP. The weather also played a role in both Smith and Redding's San Marino GP podiums, Smith took a huge gamble and remained on slick tyres throughout the whole race while Redding's crash proved to be a blessing in disguise, forcing him to pit earlier and gain an advantage over the rest of the field.

Ducati’s last satellite podium came in 2008 when Toni Elias finished second at the Czech GP followed by a third at the San Marino GP on the Alice Team Ducati. This was also the last season in which Yamaha, Honda and Ducati all had satellite podium finishes with Edwards claiming two thirds for Yamaha and Andrea Dovizioso finishing third at the Malaysian GP on the JiR Team Scot MotoGP Honda.

The last win by a satellite rider came back in 2006, during the famous Portuguese GP when Elias snatched victory from Valentino Rossi by a mere 0.002s.

With the introduction of the CRT and Open classes, the factories have been able to focus their efforts and resources on a smaller number of satellite bikes and teams, and in 2015 the results are starting to show. The performance of all three-podium finishers is even more noteworthy due to the resurgence of Ducati.

In previous years Ducati, and especially their satellite teams, have struggled to be competitive but 2014 and 2015 have seen a renaissance for the Italian company. Now Ducati challenge for the top five at each round and often the podium resulting in six full factory bikes up the front of the MotoGP™ field each weekend, making it even harder than previous years for satellite riders to claim podiums.

MotoGP, 2015, Bradley Smith, Scott Redding, Danilo Petrucci, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, EG 0,0 Marc VDS, Octo Pramac Racing

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