As MotoGP's satellite teams finalise plans for 2018, Marc VDS team boss Michael Bartholemy has stated the team's intention is to renew its MotoGP ties with Honda beyond the '17 season, with a decision likely to arrive before the end of May.

A meeting took place in Qatar between HRC top brass, Marc VDS team owner Marc van der Straten and team management during which the Belgian team owner made his intention known, which was to continue with Honda machinery in the MotoGP class

According to Bartholemy, Honda also indicated a willingness to continue, but as the factory is currently assessing the situation due to the fiscal year recently coming to an end, a final decision has yet to be made.

It is expected a commitment on whether both parties will continue their ties after a three-year relationship in the premier class, that began in 2015, should be decided "in the next month."

With Marc VDS currently part of the pyramid structure that includes the Estrella Galicia Monlau Moto3 and FIM Junior World Championship teams, Bartholemy believes Marc VDS' Moto2 and MotoGP programme is a valuable facet to a factory seeking to nurture talent right the way through the grand prix hierarchy.

It is only in the case of Honda declining to provide machinery for the 2018 season that Bartholemy would begin speaking to other manufacturers, he said.

"I am not sure to be with Honda next year because [in the] meeting, we said they are our first choice," Bartholemy told Crash.net in Austin last weekend. "We would like to continue. And actually they say the same. They say they want to continue but there are things that they have to finalise.

"For example, they have to finalise the budgets. Their fiscal year ends in March. So when we were talking with them it was still in the old year. It was around the 20th of March. So it's normal that they need until April to make some calculations.

"So, first, we need to speak to them. Until we hear from Honda, we should not talk to somebody else. We have some other manufacturers that approach us. They wanted to have a meeting but we said the same. We said that we want to see if Honda continues with us. Then we can talk.

"It depends a bit on the answer. It's not good now, when you start to speak to everyone in the paddock to make some mess. I think we should always go in an honest and straight way. In the end it depends on Honda. I think Marc VDS is not an unattractive team."

"Financially we are not the richest people in the paddock but we can pay our invoice. We have quite a good Moto2 programme and we can bring through some riders for them.

"I think they should think sometime about the future. Maybe one day Marc will go. Dani is not the youngest one. Cal is not so young anymore. OK, Valentino is there at 38 but at the moment you need one guy with 21 or 22. And the best school for this at the moment is Marc VDS. We are building. For them, it's also a package that is attractive."

To continue into '18 with the Japanese factory, Bartholemy also said that he would be seeking a technical package that is "at least" at the level current riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat receive at the moment.

"But let's see what they decide. It's in their hands. They need to decide what they can offer. For me it's also important the technical package. It's not only the financial situation. The technical package needs to be at least what it is now. It is important as well. Let's see their idea and then we have to decide."

Asked to assess the likelihood of the team remaining with the manufacturer, he said, "It depends on them. We had a meeting in Qatar. Our team owner was there and he said we would like to continue. Our programme, let's say internally, is fixed. We will stay in MotoGP until 2021.

"This is something we have agreed internally. After this we will see. Now we will see who will supply us with the best package and at the moment the priority is Honda. But, I cannot decide for them. The decision has to come from them."

And when is a decision likely to be made? "I think Honda will decide in the next month," said Bartholemy. "Like the end of May. This would be nice because after this it's coming a bit late."

Of the current satellite teams operating in MotoGP, Avintia has renewed with Ducati for the 2018 season, while Aspar is "very close" to agreeing a two-year renewal with the Bologna manufacturer.

 

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