The dispute at the top of the Marc VDS team escalated during the Le Mans weekend, with team principal Michael Bartholemy being dismissed by owner Marc van der Straten.

Bartholemy, whose departure prompted several other team members to leave, is fighting the dismissal on the grounds that the financial allegations against him are baseless.

While it is now certain that Bartholemy will no longer be part of a team he helped guide to two Moto2 titles and a MotoGP race win.

But the 'divorce' is complicated by some of the VDS contracts apparently being in the name of Bartholemy's MM Performance & Racing AG company.

Former JiR team manager Luca Montiron has reportedly been hired by van der Straten to replace Bartholemy, but the ongoing stalemate over who controls what means that - according to - the team's attendance at this week's private Barcelona MotoGP test is in serious doubt.

With such drama playing out around them, few could blame Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli, Thomas Luthi, Alex Marquez and Joan Mir for being distracted.

But while Luthi finished out of the points in 16th, MotoGP team-mate Morbidelli held on to top rookie honours in the world championship with 13th position while the Moto2 riders celebrated a double podium.

Rider Ratings - French MotoGP

Video Thumbnail: 

"It's not a normal situation of course," Morbidelli said. "There was a bit of a storm inside our team lately but me, my crew and all the guys did well not to get too distracted by this problem. We kept our concentration quite well I think."

The Italian added he has spoken with Montiron "once or twice" and was confident the season will proceed as planned.

Marquez, second to Francesco Bagnaia in the Moto2 race, acknowledged the situation had deteriorated further since the first rumours of trouble at Jerez but also praised the professionalism of the team.

"When you are a rider, you need to manage all the difficult situations," he said. "For sure it was a difficult situation for the team - it was already difficult in Jerez, but here quite a lot more.

"But you know we have really professional people behind us, all the team, the technicians, everybody that helps you to forget a little bit about this. It's your job. You need to be focussed on the track, then tomorrow we will think about what happened outside the track. But I think it looks like everything is more or less under control."

Mir, whose third place marked his debut podium in the 600cc class, added:

"For me the same. It's a shame what is happening now with the team but as a rider you have to be 100% concentrated on what you do, which is racing. If not. in a category like this with 20 riders in one-second, you won’t achieve what you want.

"I'm really grateful that we have – like Alex said – really professional people behind us. The mechanics, technical people that help us to forget a bit this. But this is something that we don’t like."

Morbidelli, Marquez and Mir all have a 2019 option with Marc VDS (Luthi is currently on a one year deal).

Marquez is expected to step up to the premier-class alongside Morbidelli, but the team is yet to finalise its 2019 machinery having been in negotiations with Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha.

Mir could well leave the team, having received interest from three factories for an early move to MotoGP.



Loading Comments...