Classics Tech 3 team boss Poncharal convinced: "A satellite team can win the World Championship"

15:45  27 february  2021
15:45  27 february  2021 Source:   motorsport-total.com

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In Valencia 2 kämpften mit Morbidelli und Miller zwei Satellitenfahrer um den Sieg © Motorsport Images In Valencia 2, Morbidelli and Miller, two satellite drivers fought for victory.

If you look at the MotoGP era since 2002, then you could Satellite teams keep celebrating great successes. For example, Sete Gibernau challenged Valentino Rossi (Repsol-Honda) with the Gresini-Honda in 2003/04. But it wasn't enough for the world championship title.

Herve Poncharal © Motorsport Images Herve Poncharal

In the MotoGP era, no satellite team has won the world title. Over the years, the gap between factory and customer teams has widened. Between Estoril 2006 (Toni Elias / Gresini-Honda) and Assen 2015 (Jack Miller / Marc-VDS-Honda), all Grand Prix victories went to works teams.

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KTM-Box © Motorsport Images KTM-Box

Meanwhile the situation has changed. Ducati, Honda and KTM use four current works motorcycles, Yamaha three. Only the Esponsorama team still uses Ducati motorcycles of older specifications.

The close interaction between the factory and satellite teams ensured balance in the field. In 2020, eight of the 14 victories went to satellite teams. In the meantime, the supposed customer drivers also have contracts with the respective plant in their pockets.

So is it only a matter of time before a satellite team wins the world championship? "Yes, I think so," says Tech-3-KTM team boss Herve Poncharal. Gone are the days when the customer team had to ride old motorcycles.

The gap between factory and satellite teams is no longer possible.

Further developments are also distributed. That's why the difficulty between the factory and satellite teams during the season is no longer as strong as it was a few years ago. This ensures balanced races and different winners.

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"You have to thank the technical rules, the good drivers and all the factories that believe in their satellite teams and support them," emphasizes Poncharal, thinking of those responsible at Dorna, FIM, MSMA and IRTA.

"Satellite teams have the opportunity to win races and fight for the world title. I'm pretty sure of that. 2020 was of course a crazy season. Joan Mir is of course a deserved world champion, but that happened completely unexpectedly."

"Practically all satellite teams have the same bikes as the works teams and have full support. With the greatest respect for our works team, but we have won more races in the past year."

"If you look at what happened in Jerez 2 and Spielberg 1, then maybe we could have been the best-placed KTM team in the World Cup," said Poncharal, recalling the innocent failures of Miguel Oliveira. "At Yamaha the satellite team was the better team."

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Close meshing and data exchange a "win-win situation"

Tech 3 was a Yamaha customer for almost 20 years and had to cope with older specifications. Yamaha only changed this strategy with Petronas SRT, although behind the scenes it is rumored that Petronas is paying more for the better support.

When Poncharal spoke to KTM in 2018 about the cooperation from 2019 onwards, it was quickly recognized that close cooperation can bring benefits for both sides. After all, KTM was in the development and catching-up process.

"The fact that we share all the data was a crucial point for me when we joined KTM," says the Frenchman. "If we want to do a good job, then we need four motorcycles with the same specification and further development. It doesn't make any other sense."

"The exchange of data helps all four drivers. When you start a weekend with four of the same motorcycles, you have a plan. Everyone can follow their own path during set-up. Mike Leitner speaks to all four crew chiefs."

"On Wednesday and Thursday we are already working intensively in the KTM pits to prepare for Friday and Saturday. Pol [Espargaro] also said that the Tech 3 set-up helped him before. Sometimes the works team helps us , sometimes we help them. "

"That is in the interests of a manufacturer. I think the data exchange not only helps on the race weekends, but also helps the engineers for further development. It is a win-win situation."

Because of this equilibrium in the field, according to Poncharal, it is impossible to predict who will win the first race and ultimately the world championship: "Practically everyone in the field can win races and many drivers are eligible for the world title. 2020 was unbelievable. Ours We will never forget our first MotoGP victory. "

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