16 February 2010
"The 'spec two' chassis was a big improvement so the changes had worked. Phew! Yuki was almost three seconds quicker than before" - Herve Poncharal.
This winter has seen Tech 3 not only prepare for what looks like being its biggest season in MotoGP, with star rookie Ben Spies joining top satellite rider Colin Edwards, but also expand its racing activities through a two-rider entry in the new Moto2 class.
That in itself is not unique - Gresini, Aspar and Interwetten will also run both a MotoGP and Moto2 race team in 2010.
However, Tech 3 has gone a step further by choosing to design and build its own chassis for Yuki Takahashi and Raffaele de Rosa to race, rather than purchase ready-made equipment from a third party.
This is the story of Tech 3's Moto2 adventure so far in team principal Herve Poncharal's own words:
“After a shakedown, we went Moto2 testing for the first time in the middle of December, with only one bike for Raffaele, and actually the weather conditions were quite good,” began Poncharal, speaking exclusively to Crash.net.
“But everything was brand new, Raffaele had never been on a four-stroke before and - I'm being completely transparent and honest - we had some chatter at the front.
“So we left and Guy [Coulon, technical head of the Moto2 project and crew chief for Edwards] had some ideas. So we made some slight modifications - correcting chassis balance is sometimes a question of very small changes - and then we needed to get back on track to see if it had worked.
“But for two and a half weeks, everywhere we were planning to go, it was pouring down with rain! That was just before Christmas and we didn't know if what we had done was better or not! And by then we needed to build the second bike for Takahashi. So what do we do?
“We decided that the modified bike would be for Raffaele and the second bike, for Takahashi, would be the same as the original bike. Just to understand the difference.
“Then the next time we wanted to go to Jerez, again it rained non-stop. No test. Then we went to Valencia on 7-8-9 January and, my god, it was incredibly cold and wet. You couldn't see anything.
“We have been so unlucky with the weather but eventually we could do 20 laps, out of three days, with four degrees of temperature and incredibly high winds. Luckily, in those 20 laps, we could see that for Raffaele the chatter was gone and for Yuki [using the original design] the chatter was still there. The changes had worked. Phew!
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