Jack Miller's decision to jump straight from Moto3 to MotoGP should not call into question the validity of the Moto2 World Championship.
That is the view of Tech 3 team owner Herve Poncharal, who admits he was also interested in signing the young Australian for the premier-class. Miller, who finished runner-up to Alex Marquez in last year's Moto3 championship, will instead race an Open-class Honda as part of a multi-year agreement with HRC.
“I spoke to Jack during the 2014 season. And I was very interested,” Poncharal told Crash.net
. “So I don't think his decision to go from Moto3 to MotoGP is stupid. I don't think it is crazy if you are a top Moto3 rider, with all the tests before the first race and with the fact that he has no pressure to win. I certainly don't think it is dangerous.
“But just because you can do the jump, it doesn't mean Moto2 is no longer valid. I spoke to Vinales in the past and he wanted to go through Moto2. I spoke to Alex Rins and he wanted to go through Moto2. I know Alex Marquez didn't want to go straight to MotoGP.
“So you have to remember that a lot of Moto3 riders except Jack have said they want to do at least one year of Moto2. Although Jack has done something interesting, exciting and that can be a success doesn't mean everyone can do it. Most of the guys will always feel more confident to go through the more 'normal' route.
“Even if both Honda and Yamaha were interested in Jack, MotoGP team managers will also still look more at Moto2 for their future riders. Going straight from Moto3 is a big bet. Okay we will see with Jack, but even then Jack is Jack. Not everybody is like Jack.
“Anyway Moto2 is an incredibly exciting class. We can see that it is preparing riders really well for MotoGP because guys like Marquez, Bradl, Iannone, Bradley, Redding and Pol have been instantly fast.”
The Frenchman also addressed the issue of Moto2 riders flocking to the title-winning Kalex chassis, which is set to fill 23 places on this season's grid, largely at the expense of Suter.
Poncharal, whose team has designed and raced its own Moto2 machine since the series replaced 250GP in 2010, said: “I think it's a bit of a shame, because team managers are cracking under pressure from sponsors, who are following the advice of their riders.
“Riders tell the sponsors 'give me a Kalex and I'll be winning'. The sponsor then tells the team 'if you want me to stay with you, you need to give him the winning package'. I accept that we have the freedom to do what we want but racing is also a challenge, a bet, and about diversity sometimes.
“So I'm sad for Suter because I think they did a really good job. When there was a guy called Marc Marquez on the bike they won the championship. They could also have won it the year before, in 2011, without his eye injury. But it is what it is.
“This is only my opinion, but maybe 2015 will be a one-off in terms of this [chassis] situation. Suter is not going to give up and will continue to develop while Tech 3 and Speed Up are still going to be there as well.
“Any riders that are mid-pack and don't have the level of Kallio or Rabat will find out that it doesn't matter if they have a Kalex. They cannot fight with the top guys. They will maybe understand that it is better to try another route and have something a bit different, with a bit less pressure.”
For the first time since the formation of the 600cc Grand Prix class, Tech 3 has retained both its riders, Marcel Schrotter and Ricky Cardus, for a second year.
“Marcel and Ricky pushed hard and had by far, by far
, their best ever Moto2 seasons,” Poncharal explained. “I'm very happy to keep the same two riders for the first time. For me that was very important in terms of continuity and to thank them for their hard work, never-give-up attitude and especially their team spirit.
“It was the first time in many years that I had two guys who were happy to be with us. Who never told me during the season 'I want a Kalex', or 'if I was on a Kalex I could do that'…
“They can see how hard we work, the evolutions we bring and that we are different. They never asked to switch to another chassis because although there are some weak points, they could also see that they had some strong points. I'm very proud about that.”
to read the full interview with Herve Poncharal, which includes his verdict on whether Moto2 engines should be more powerful and why Tech 3 won't have a Moto3 team...