Tech3 Yamaha Bos’s Hervé Poncharal admits that beating the factory team led to some uncomfortable moments with the factory team.
The satellite team finished ahead of the factory squad in 7 of the 18 races during 2017. This despite their bike being last year’s version and theoretically worse than the factory bike.
This led to some awkward situations between the teams as the factory team tried to figure out what had gone wrong for them. The situation was probably exacerbated by having two rookies on the Tech3 bikes, with not even Tech3 expecting Johann Zarco to have the season he did. The double Moto2 world champion was regularly fighting for podium finishes ahead of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales.
Despite competing with the factory team on track, Poncharal is aware of their primary purpose which is to help the factory team win the world championship.
Sometimes it was a bit uncomfortable for me to be in front of them. 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. 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.