The Angel Nieto Team has expressed an interest in running Yamaha machinery in MotoGP from 2019 onwards, after Tech 3’s shock decision to end its ties with the Japanese factory at the end of this year.

Gino Borsoi, sporting director of the recently christened Angel Nieto team, which will run Alvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham on Ducati machinery this year, admitted he was caught off guard by Tech 3’s announcement in late February.

The former 125cc podium finisher told Crash.net at the recent MotoGP test in Qatar that the possibility of running a pair of Yamaha M1s in future seasons is an option “we would like to explore,” but feels Marc VDS may be better placed to make the switch.

“Honestly, we didn’t know that Tech 3 were deciding to stop the contract with Yamaha,” said Borsoi. “It was a surprise also for us. Now we have another door open that we can explore of course, and that we would like to explore.

“Our idea was to sit down and discuss the idea with Ducati during the race in Qatar but now another factory needs a team, so why not talk with them. We are happy with Ducati. We have good support from them. Before it made no sense for us to find another factory.

“But now knowing the Yamaha satellites are really good bikes, with a really good pace. Every rider jumps on this bike and goes fast from the beginning so why not discuss with Yamaha?”

The Angel Nieto Team has run Ducati machinery since 2016, and scored a number of impressive results with Eugene Laverty and, latterly, Bautista. Like last season, the Spaniard will have last year’s factory Ducati machinery for 2018 while team-mate Abraham will contest the year aboard the two-year old GP16.

Yet Borsoi is all-to-aware that the Angel Nieto Team sits behind Pramac, which is essentially Ducati’s ‘Junior’ squad, in the factory's order of preference. A switch to Yamaha machinery would result in it being its second team.

What’s more, the M1 has proven to be a fantastic package for riders new to the MotoGP class, as shown by Johann Zarco, Jonas Folger, and, more recently, Hafizh Syahrin.

“It’s always our target to be part of the factory, to be the second team of a factory and at the moment we are not,” Borsoi said. “With Yamaha, we have the chance to be the second team.

“We didn’t start to talk with them. Maybe the door is still open [or] someone around the paddock already has an agreement.”

That ‘someone’ to whom he was referring is Marc VDS, another satellite team that has also expressed an interest in switching manufacturers at the end of this campaign. Yamaha is a possible destination, as is Suzuki.

In a recent conversation with Crash.net, Suzuki’s MotoGP team manager Davide Brivio revealed running “a satellite team is one of our targets [for 2019]. We really want to do it and we really need to have it.”

One stumbling block to a potential Yamaha-Angel Nieto Team link-up could be Valentino Rossi’s desire to run a MotoGP team once he retires from the sport, which could well be at the close of 2020.

If that is the case, Rossi’s squad would surely run Yamahas in 2021, meaning any current satellite team would have just a two-year agreement – that is unless the Japanese manufacturer would be prepared to run six machines in 2021.

 

 

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