Monster Yamaha Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal has confirmed that Ben Spies will not have a special 'rookie test' and expressed disappointment that the extra track outings were created.

By the end of this week all four 250cc stars stepping up to the MotoGP class in 2010 will have taken part in an additional three-day 'rookie test', not available to the present premier-class field.

Suzuki's new signing Alvaro Bautista and Aspar Ducati's Hector Barbera rode last month during private tests at Estoril and Jerez respectively, while Honda riders Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama are presently on track at Sepang in Malaysia.

But arguably the most high profile 2010 rookie, newly crowned World Superbike champion Spies, will not have the extra track time. Poncharal, also president of Teams' association IRTA, explained why:

"Honestly sometimes I don't understand people," the Frenchman told "Some people who had, for quite a while, not recognised that there was a growing financial problem [in MotoGP] then suddenly reacted in a kind of panic early this year.

"But we calmed things down and there were a lot of decisions taken to save money for 2009 and 2010.

"We deleted Friday morning practice and stopped all but two post-race tests, we reduced costs with the single tyre and since the Czech Republic we reduced the number of engines. And for 2010 we had three tests of two days instead of three days.

"So we thought 'okay, we are all going in the same direction'. Then we started to hear 'why don't we give the rookies more tests and make the tests three days?'.

"There was a lot of pressure, a lot of lobbying by some people, so the decision was that until the end of 2009 a rookie could be a test rider. But from the 1st of January any contracted MotoGP rider cannot be nominated as a test rider.

"We always try to bend the rules. Is it good or not? For me I think it is not good, but other people think it is. I am a democrat so I follow the majority rule.

"In an ideal world you would have competition in every department, unlimited engines and unlimited testing, but we have to deal with reality. The reality is there is less money available and will spending money on more tests actually improve the show?

"Look what's happening in Formula One. Look how many factories are leaving. Even the tyre supplier is leaving. We have had one factory [Kawasaki] leaving and at the end of the day we need to understand that we are not living in an ideal world.

"We need to have a good show, an exciting championship, for people watching on TV and at the track. And we need teams operating on a budget that can be achieved through sponsorship.

"This is what we need to work towards. Not adding test days here and there."

Spies finished a promising seventh on his Yamaha MotoGP debut as a wild-card at Valencia, before making an impressive Tech 3 debut in the following post-race test.

Having taken part in the grand prix weekend arguably balances out the absence of an extra test and it is perhaps for that reason that Spies 'agrees' with the decision.

"I think Ben is clever enough to understand how much he could realistically gain and is confident enough in his and Yamaha's potential not to push for an extra test," Poncharal declared. "He has had the wild-card in Valencia and the test after the race and he will have enough time to be ready for the first race of 2010 at Qatar.

"I am not saying my opinion is the only one to have on this, but it is what I think and it is a view shared by Yamaha and by Ben. We all agree. This is good. So we won't be testing. We used the Valencia post race test as much as we could. Now everybody is working and preparing for February in Sepang [when the new YZR-M1 will be ready]."

To back up his view, Poncharal pointed out that his own satellite Yamaha squad did less testing than any other team in 2009, but finished the year with Colin Edwards as the highest placed satellite rider and Tech 3 as the top satellite team (although James Toseland struggled to 14th overall).

"I said 'we will not test post race in 2009' and we were the only team not to test after Barcelona and Czech Republic. Colin was still fifth in the riders' championship and we were fourth in the teams' championship," said Poncharal.

"I'm not saying that we are the best or that we know everything, but sometimes you need to be adult and strong enough to question what will really be achieved. Will it be a real handicap not to test? Do we really need to spend that money when we have nothing special to test? We're just going to burn some fuel and use some tyres.

"At the end of the day, is one more winter test going to change the career of any of the rookies? I don't think so. But if you are a rider or engineer, you always want more laps. It is in their blood.

"But the bottom line is that we should not have double standards over cost-cutting, one minute saying 'This is a catastrophe! There is no more money! We are all going to die!' and the next minute trying to keep exactly what we are supposed to be fighting against.

"It just sends a confusing message to the outside world, because we keep changing the rules about what is allowed and what is forbidden.

"I'm not criticising anyone specifically, I just think we should all be calmer, a bit more adult and pass the correct message all together. I think sometimes we should look a bit further than simply today and tomorrow. That is my position."

The first official MotoGP test of 2010 takes place at Sepang from February 3-5. Another test will then be held at Sepang later that month before the final pre-season outing is held at Qatar in mid-March.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment

@stevedo : Spies running as a wild card was not under Tech3 banner. It was a decision taken by Yamaha to field an extra M1 for Spies under the Sterilgarda SBK team banner.

The interview is from Poncharal's perspective as IRTA president, not as a team owner/manager. Of course he makes a comparison to his own team since he knows what they have done to reduce costs. The problem is that you will always have people that change their minds/opinions once a decision has been taken and that is exactly the issue here. Agreeing to a decision and then trying to bend the same rules that they agreed upon...In a way it looks like Belgian politics :blush: