Since 2016 and the departure of IodaRacing (Aprilia), the only satellite machines on the MotoGP grid have been provided by Ducati, Honda and Yamaha.

Under the latest MotoGP contract all manufacturers are 'obliged' to supply customer machines, the theory being that each factory would eventually have one factory and one satellite team.

But at present Ducati has eight bikes on the grid, Honda five and Yamaha four, then there are the two factory entries each by Suzuki, Aprilia and KTM.

Some feel the trio are at a disadvantage by not getting extra data from a satellite team, but that must be balanced with the extra investment and resources required to support such a project.

Here is what the representatives of those three manufacturers had to say about the prospect of a satellite team in 2019…

Suzuki

Team manager Davide Brivio: "To be honest this year showed that we were missing a satellite team. We think that if we have two more riders on the track we can get much more information and that would probably also have been useful for the development. We would like to do. As a team, we would like to have another team helping us, supporting us.

"This is a discussion going on inside the factory. I hope we can do [in 2019], but now it’s quite early for us to say.

"For Suzuki, it’s a little bit difficult because we never had experience on having satellite team or providing satellite bikes. Maybe back in the ‘70s, I don’t know.

"But providing bikes to other teams. Even KTM, maybe they have [more experience than us] in another category. We don’t know how to organize the spare parts and how to follow the team.

"So, it’s a discussion going on, but definitely we hope we will be able to do one day."

Aprilia

Romano Albesiano, Racing Manager: "For Aprilia we are of course open to supply a satellite team in the future. It’s not a priority. The priority now is the technical development. But if there is an opportunity to do so…

"There are positive and negative things for a small structure like ours. Of course, you have more chance to gather results with more riders, as Davide was saying, but also it gets more complicated, the organization of parts.

"So, we will see. The priority for us is technical development now."

KTM

Pit Beirer, Motorsport Director: "We have no clear decision taken at the moment. It’s also up to the request [from the Independent teams]. First of all, we need to work on the performance of our bike, and then we have to see if somebody will really make a request to us [for a satellite bike].

"So, there is still no decision. There is a plan we’re going to have a satellite team in the future, but we are not in a position to decide if we want or not. It’s really also about [an Independent team] requesting that.

"But we are waiting still a little bit more and working on our number one project first."

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Satellite teams from small budget factory teams will always be difficult. The team will be struggling like crazy to get funding from the parent company to pay for more resources to support the additional machines. The other side of the coin is the small budget satellite team that struggles to get funding from its sponsors to allow it to continue. Sponsorship money flows with results and so a proven race winner such as a Ducati/Honda/Yamaha will always be a better proposition for them than a less proven machine, unless the less proven machine can be provided at a red hot price. And now we're back to the start of the loop, where the small budget factory operation cannot afford to provide machines at a red hot price.

If VR46 does form a MotoGP satellite team, and if as expected he will use Yamaha machinery, then Herve Poncharal's Tech 3 salvation could come from becoming a satellite team to Suzuki, KTM or Aprillia.

 

It will be really interesting when a team asks one of the 3 small works teams to provide bikes with them obliged to provide them 

We don't know what the actual MotoGP license states regarding the "obligation" to supply machines. But I'd be thinking that there's nothing in there regarding a cost limit so if a satellite team went to a small manufacturer team and requested machines, the small manufacturer team would simply ask for the full price and the satellite team couldn't afford it.