Tech 3 Yamaha is the only team not testing at Valencia this week, but Herve Poncharal's team at least finished the 2008 MotoGP season on a high when Colin Edwards and James Toseland snatched fourth position in the teams' championship on Sunday.

The 15-point haul collected by Edwards and Toseland saw the Tech 3 squad seize fourth by a single point from the factory Rizla Suzuki team. Tech 3 was also the highest placed satellite outfit in the final standings.

Despite something of a mid-season slump, shared to a greater or lesser degree by most Michelin teams, Tech 3 was one of the success stories of 2008 - its all-new rider line-up and switch from Dunlop to Michelin tyres, combined with Yamaha's much-improved YZR-M1, producing a dramatic upturn in form.

Tech 3 scored just 88 points during the 2007 championship, but finished 2008 with 249 points, aided by two podiums for Edwards, who also finished seventh in the final standings.

Edwards concluded the 18-round season with a sixth place finish at Valencia, his best result since third place at June's Dutch TT.

"It has been a while since I finished in the top six and for this result to help the team finish fourth in the Teams' World Championship makes it extra rewarding," said Edwards. "I'm pleased for Herve Poncharal and the team because they deserve it. We had a couple of races where we gave a lot of points away, but for an independent team we have done a fantastic job together and it was a year to remember.

"I'd like to thank all my guys for their hard work throughout the season and to Yamaha for their continued support. Finally I'd like to say a big thanks to Michelin. I had the greatest moments of my career with them and I've enjoyed our time together. I'm looking forward to a bit of a break now before coming back in Jerez next month to begin working as hard as ever for 2009."

Toseland closed his rookie campaign with a hard fought eleventh position. The Briton shadowed factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo for the opening fifteen laps in a close dice just outside of the top ten, momentarily passing the Spaniard on two occasions before suffering grip problems in the closing stages.

With fourth in the teams' title on the line, a determined Toseland dug deep to hold off Sylvain Guintoli, Chris Vermeulen, John Hopkins and Randy de Puniet by less than 1.5sec as he took the chequered flag in eleventh.

"It was a hard race to finish a pretty hard season and while it wasn't how I wanted to finish on a personal note, it was great that I contributed to the team getting fourth by a point. I'm glad I managed to hang on at the end there because I was coming under a lot of pressure," he admitted.

"In the first half of the race I was probably a bit quicker than Jorge but I just couldn't make a pass on him stick. I got him a couple of times but I made mistakes and let him back through. One time I put my hand in the air to apologise for a close move going into the first corner, and as I put my hand back for the second corner I missed my braking marker. So I'm annoyed with myself about that.

"I was in a real fight at the end and I was just struggling for a bit of grip. We tried quite a big change on the set-up and it worked well for the first half of the race, but towards the end I had to ride a bit defensive and make sure I didn't lose too many places. The team deserve to be fourth in the championship this year and I was determined to help them achieve it.

"Tech 3 and Yamaha have given me unbelievable support in my rookie year and I was pleased to battle right to the last lap to get that result for them. I have learned a lot in 2008, and I'm looking forward to working hard in the winter and making a big impression next season," he declared.

Poncharal was delighted to have finished the season in a 'fantastic way':

"It was a fantastic way for us to end the season and I really want to thank Colin and James for their effort," said the Frenchman. "It was a tough weekend with the weather conditions but it was very important to end on a positive note and we were reasonably confident when both of them qualified on the second row.

"Colin made a great start and he did a good race, keeping a really good rhythm. In the first half of the race, James looked even a little bit quicker than Jorge but he couldn't quite pass him. He pushed really hard throughout even though he didn't have 100 per cent confidence, but it was a strong result and by hanging on at the end under a lot of pressure he helped us get fourth in the Teams' Championship and we beat two full factory teams. That was our target before this weekend and we achieved it.

"I'd like to congratulate Yamaha again for an incredible season. They gave us a great bike in 2008 and I'd also like to say a big thanks to Michelin for their support. Thanks to them and Yamaha we had one pole position and two podium finishes. We will miss Michelin but we now must look forward to a new era.

"Everyone at Tech 3 is now looking forward to a quick break and we will be back raring to start our 2009 preparations in Jerez at the end of November," he concluded.

The Jerez test will see Edwards and Toseland make their debut with Bridgestone tyres.



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