Regardless of what happens in this weekend's Valencia finale, Xavi Vierge handed the Tech 3 Moto2 team a memorable leaving present in the form of second place at Motegi.

It marked Tech 3's first podium - with a chassis they design, build and race themselves - since Bradley Smith at Mugello in 2011. The Japanese race was held in wet conditions, but Vierge had also qualified on the front row in the dry.

"We were waiting such a long time, since Bradley in 2011, so it was an incredible feeling," Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal told Crash.net.

"Everybody in this paddock is working hard so it's difficult to say, 'we work harder'. But because it's our bike, in-between each race everybody in the team goes back to the workshop to develop, repair and prepare for the next event.

"That is not to say the others are doing nothing, but everybody else - maybe except Speed Up - do like we do in MotoGP. They have a factory, which is either Kalex or Suter, they leave everything in the trucks and wait for the next race.

"So there is a lot of work behind it and you can imagine the frustration sometimes. So I'm so pleased for Xavi but I'm also so, so pleased for all the guys in the team.

"Some people will say, 'it's because it is wet'. But I think we have showed that our bike is competitive and he was third in the dry qualifying. So I'm happy and hope we can do it again before the end of the season.

"The only negative is the fact that we know Xavi is special and he is leaving us..."

Vierge is switching to Intact GP for the 2018 season, where he will race the Suter chassis.

"I don't want to say we made him - that was his mum and dad! - but we started with Xavi back in the CEV in 2014, supporting and working with the team he was riding for," Poncharal explained.

"Xavi finished second in the CEV in 2015 on our bike, having won more races than the champion, Edgar Pons. Then Xavi moved with us to grand prix in 2016 and was Rookie of the Year ahead of Oliveira and Marini, which is not bad.

"In 2017 until the injury in Assen he had finished in the top-ten five times, including fifth place in Argentina. So he was there. We know his potential and we know he still has room for improvement, as he showed at Motegi. So it's a shame to lose him.

"It's a shame  from the results point of view, but also the human point of view because rarely have I had such a feeling with a rider. Maybe the last one was Shinya Nakano. He was really my guy.

"So Xavi's given us a nice goodbye present, but I don't like goodbyes! I know he is going to grow further."

Tech 3's revised 2018 line-up will see young Dutchman Bo Bendsneyder step up from Moto3 in place of Vierge, alongside the retained Remy Gardner.

"Remy is growing and I'm happy about him," said Poncharal. "Since we confirmed him for next year everything has changed. Because he was worried, which is understandable.

"Bo is monitoring everything very closely! After almost every session I receive a text from him. He's excited.

"Although I don’t know him well, I like his approach: He contacted us, he said 'I want to come to you'. Because so many guys are saying, 'I would like to come to you, but only if you buy 'X or Y' chassis."

Vierge will start the Valencia finale holding tenth in the world championship, with 98 points. After a nightmare start to the season, including a fractured ankle when he was taken out in Argentina, Gardner has scored 23 points for 20th in the standings.

Tech 3, which claimed 47 points during the whole of last season, is already up to 107 points this year.

Just five points currently cover Suter, Speed Up and Tech 3 in the Moto2 Constructors' championship heading into Valencia, with Kalex (15) and KTM (2) dividing the race wins after Aegerter's disqualification from Misano.

 

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