The French Grand Prix at Le Mans provides a fitting venue for the Tech 3 Yamaha team to celebrate a special milestone in its history this weekend.
Formed by Herve Poncharal and Guy Coulon, 2009 marks the 20th year of grand prix competition for the French-based squad.
Testament to the passion and dedication of Poncharal (team manager) and Coulon (presently crew chief to Colin Edwards), the landmark anniversary means Tech 3 has been present in the grand prix series for almost a third of its history.
Tech 3 has also played an important role in contributing to France's motorsport heritage, the high point of which was undoubtedly Olivier Jacque's triumph in the 2000 250cc Word Championship - the last time a French rider has won a world title for a French team.
That memorable season was the second year of a partnership between Tech 3 and Yamaha, which continues in MotoGP today, where Tech 3 is Yamaha's only satellite team.
Tech 3 was the top satellite outfit in MotoGP last season, with the combined points of Edwards and team-mate James Toseland placing Tech 3 fourth (out of ten) in the Teams' World Championship, ahead of the factory Suzuki and Kawasaki outfits. Along the way Edwards also claimed two podium finishes and one pole position.
“It's appropriate that Tech 3 celebrates its 20th birthday in our home race in Le Mans this weekend,” said Poncharal. “It's incredible to think when Guy and I first set out on this amazing adventure that Tech 3 would be going stronger than ever as we eagerly anticipate our third decade of racing at world championship level.
“We could never have imagined when we started back in 1989 that we would be a leading team in the premier motorcycle racing world championship class. What seemed a distant dream then is now reality, thanks to the hard work and commitment of many people who have shown unbelievable dedication to make the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team what it is today.
“I thank each and every person who has helped us since 1989 and it has been an honour and a pleasure to manage such a great team. We can look back at the last 20 years with immense pride. We have had some truly unforgettable experiences and we've been fortunate to have some of the world's best talent riding for Tech 3.
“Olivier's victory in the 250cc championship in 2000 will be etched in my mind forever. We always had a dream for a French team to win a world title with a French rider. Accomplishing that mission with OJ is something I will always cherish.