In light of recent MotoGP showings that saw his satellite rider outperform the decorated factory team, Tech 3 team boss Hervé Poncharal is sure Yamaha will provide him with competitive machinery for 2018, even if he is currently unaware of the exact spec.

This season’s surprise package Johann Zarco performed admirably at each of the three ‘flyaway’ races, taking pole position at Motegi, and claiming a superb third place in Malaysia, while Movistar Yamaha team-mates Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales struggled to lacklustre showings in the rain.

With Rossi labelling the ’17 M1 “dangerous” and “impossible” to ride in such conditions on Sunday evening, it led to the question of what machinery Tech 3 – normally equipped with the factory bikes from the year before - and Zarco will have at their disposal for ’18.

After all, Zarco has shown his current machine to be more competitive than his factory counterparst at Jerez, Montmeló and the Red Bull Ring, while proving to be its equal at various other venues, Phillip Island and Sepang included.

But as the double Moto2 world champion says, “Yamaha is not stupid,” and Poncharal believes it would not be “mission impossible” for the factory to provide his riders with the latest chassis, for example, if it proves to be an upgrade on what Rossi and Viñales are currently using.

“It’s very foggy,” Poncharal told Crash.net. “What is it [our bike]? I don’t know. We never know exactly what we have. Even now I can’t tell you if it’s a full ’16 [spec] bike. It’s maybe a bit of ’15 and ’16, mixed with other parts. Then from Silverstone we received the two sides with the wings [aerodynamic fairing]. It’s difficult to understand.

“Right now, we know that they [the factory riders] have the ’17 [spec], but which one? I don’t know. It could be the 17.1 or .2, .3 or .4. Then they brought the prototype to a test at Misano. Both riders liked it but it was only one unit per rider. It was not ready to race but they put so much pressure on the factory that finally they managed to have that bike ready to race at Silverstone. From that moment they only worked with this. So is it an ’18 or a ’17.5?

“I don’t want to ask Yamaha now because I think right now they don’t really understand, or they don’t know [what they 2018 bike will be]. The only thing I know is that I hope, and I’m trusting them to give me something that is competitive.

“We’re talking about the chassis. When you see the whole package the chassis is something that is just a few pieces of aluminium. I think for them it is not mission impossible for them to give us the right piece of aluminium. When you know the whole cost… If they don’t do it I should be surprised. We’ll have to wait until Valencia. I don’t want to go and ask because they can put what they want on the bike.”

Zarco also feels Yamaha will ensure its satellite riders have the opportunity to fight at the front, even if that means supplying them with the latest spec equipment.

“I don’t know at the moment really what I’m going to use next year,” Zarco said at Sepang. “I think Yamaha is not stupid. If they’ve got some wrong information or some problem with the 2017 they will not put it in the Tech 3 team. The target of Yamaha for every year, they have four bikes, and they want their four bikes in front of everybody.

“We already have good information from them. You must deserve it. With Japanese people you need to deserve what they give to you. Already what we have in the team, they know very well so they will wait for the result.”

 

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