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18 days ago

Poncharal: “Young, fast riders only want a factory ride”

With the MotoGP™ rider market continuing to shift, Herve Poncharal held a small press conference to talk about the state of the championship.

In the build up to the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya it was announced that Pol Espargaro would be departing the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team at the end of 2016. With Bradley Smith off to KTM at the end of the year, this means Herve Poncharal will be required to find two news riders for his team. One of his new riders has already been announced as Jonas Folger, but Poncharal feels finding a second may not be as easy as in previous years: “For some reason, although we have very close machinery to the factory teams, it looks like now there is a trend, a fashion, where if you are a young, fast rider there is nothing but a factory ride. I think this is quite difficult for us to swallow, to understand as clearly we were the B teams some years ago but I think now we are C teams clearly.”

"We were the B teams some years ago but I think now we are C teams clearly" Herve Poncharal

New rules have seen the Independent Teams closer than ever before to the factory teams: “I feel the championship with Dorna, the FIM and IRTA have done a great job and it was the right decision to push for the one ECU. We clearly have the closet bike for many many years to the factory team, each partnership: Tech 3 to Yamaha and the independent teams to Honda and Ducati. We’ve also been pushing to have more factories, which is working as there are now four factories who are working really well and another two are working hard and I’m sure they’ll be fast very soon,” said Poncharal.

The new rules have been a double edged sword for teams such as the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad, riders choosing to go to one of the newer factory teams rather than heading to a satellite outfit: “Clearly now I think the B team are the new factories like Suzuki and I don’t know if Ducati is B+ or A-, something like that. In our sport I believe more and more we can find out that the riders are making the difference. You have five, six or seven riders that are almost the only ones who can fight for victories or for podiums. All of these guys have interest in going to a full factory team.

“I always said that we were the junior team inside the Yamaha organisation but are we the junior team inside Yamaha now? I think the answer is clearly no as when was the last time there was a Tech 3 rider moving up to the factory team? I think it was 2010 Ben Spies, but he was not a real Tech 3 rider, he was a factory rider that won the World Superbike championship and he was meant to move onto the factory team but there was not the space,” concluded Poncharal.