Tech 3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal has spelled out what he thinks Colin Edwards and James Toseland need to do in order to give the team a chance of challenging for race wins in 2009.
While the French team enjoyed crests and troughs in form over the course of the season, an overall finishing position of fourth place, ahead of the factory Suzuki and Kawasaki teams, signify a successful year by Poncharal's standards.
Even so, despite a flying start to the season, one that saw Edwards and Toseland battling up at the front of the field, Tech 3 faded in the latter stages to leave them with a best result of third place, achieved by the American at Le Mans and Assen.
Poncharal is happy to be retaining the same riders in 2009 though, even if he admits he wants to see some more aggression from Edwards and greater set-up confidence from Toseland in order to bridge the gap to the front.
“Firstly, I want to say that I am quite happy with what we did in 2008 because thanks to Colin and James we finished fourth in the Teams´ championship, we were the best 'independent´ team and were in front of two factories,” he told the MotoGP website.
“On Colin I would say that he has been really fast in qualifying so he has shown that he has got the speed. Perhaps if there is something he needs to work on it is the first three or four laps of races and being a bit more aggressive.
“James has a lot of that (aggression) but he needs to work on preparing for races better, maybe putting more effort on race set-up and that should be positive because we have already seen that James is very aggressive and is not afraid of touching other riders on the track, so I think that that is what we need. Aggression and motivation are required and James has a lot of those two qualities.”
Poncharal has now turned his attentions to 2009 as he ponders the effect of the new specification Bridgestone control tyre. He thinks the combination of experience and exuberance from his riders will help get the best from their all-new package.
“The main point now is that on 26th-27th November we will be in Jerez to work for the first time on the new specification Bridgestone tyre and this will be the main focus of that test,” he said. “From February we will work on the new ´09 bike and this will be like all winter tests, to understand the new bike, to work with the new tyre manufacturer and to work with the team.´
“We have been trying to modify our organisation little bit and Gary Reinders who was working with Colin is now going to be James´ crew chief. Guy Coulon who was looking after James is going to be with Colin.
“Sometimes you don't need big changes but I think this is going to help both riders to keep their motivation and maybe to have a fresh pair of eyes on how to set up the bike and prepare for the races.”