Although it's yet to be officially confirmed, all the indications are that - having announced a departure from Yamaha - Tech3 is to become a satellite KTM team in 2019.

The big question now is who will take over the French team's supply of M1 machinery?

Yamaha appears to have been surprised by Tech3's decision and must now find a new satellite partner or rely solely on data from its factory team.

Much will hinge on when exactly Valentino Rossi's VR46 squad decides to enter MotoGP.

It had been thought the VR46 premier-class team would only begin when the nine-time world champion decided to retire as a rider.

The looming shadow of such a project probably also played a role in Tech3's decision, since it would put the French team in a precarious situation.

It is highly unlikely that Yamaha would expand to six bikes on the grid and "VR46 would have priority over Tech3. I accept that," team boss Herve Poncharal said last year.

With that in mind, and with Tech3's entire existence based around being a MotoGP team, it would have been foolhardy to wait and see what happened.

"Tech3 is a small company, which has to think about the future and has to weigh the different options," Poncharal said, upon announcing the Yamaha split.

But 39-year-old Rossi has expressed a desire to continue racing next season, even if he is yet to sign, meaning 2019 looks too soon for VR46 in MotoGP.

There might also be potential contractual issues around adding a new team to the grid.

The current contract between Dorna and the Independent teams is set at 24 grid places - although it is hard to imagine a VR46 project being blocked given its significance for the sport as a whole.

Nonetheless, "at the moment there is no plan for MotoGP for VR46 and Sky", the VR46 team told Crash.net today (Tuesday).

Assuming it won’t happen for 2019, who might be willing to act as a stop-gap to bridge the Tech3 and VR46 satellite Yamaha eras?

The obvious candidates are existing MotoGP teams with the weakest links to a manufacturer. The same reasoning applies for a new Suzuki or Aprilia satellite team.

Marc VDS (Honda), Aspar (Ducati) and Avintia (Ducati) have riders contracted only to their team, rather than a factory, plus hand-me-down machinery.

By contrast, LCR (Honda) and Pramac (Ducati) run factory-contracted riders and have access to at least one of the very latest machines. Gresini is Aprilia's official team.

Dorna is hoping that each of the six MotoGP manufacturers will eventually support one satellite team. At present the grid is comprised of 8 Ducatis, 6 Hondas, 4 Yamahas, 2 Suzukis, 2 Aprilias and 2 KTMs.

Who do you think will run satellite Yamahas in 2019? Leave your comments below…

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