Tech3 has its sight set on scoring its first KTM points as riders Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin head into the unknown in Argentina this weekend.

The pair finished 17th and 20th respectively on their RC16 debuts in Qatar, where rookie Oliveira impressed by holding 13th place – and top KTM - during the opening half of the race.

“The opening round in Qatar was interesting. We saw a very exciting race from Miguel, I think he learned a lot. Clearly, the last seven, eight laps were a bit difficult, but this is something that is part of the learning process of a rookie in the MotoGP class," said team boss Herve Poncharal, who added it had been "a tough race for Hafizh."

But while all teams had the benefit of a three-day test session before the Qatar race weekend, no MotoGP laps have been turned at Termas de Rio Hondo since last year's grand prix, where former Tech3 rider Johann Zarco battled for victory with Yamaha machinery.

"Argentina 2018 was a great, great, great memory for both of our riders," said Poncharal. "Of course, Johann Zarco challenged the win until the very last lap and ending up second was an unbelievable event. Hafizh did a strong, strong race and finished in ninth, which was a great result for the whole Tech3 team."

But Poncharal is realistic about the team's chances this weekend, when a top 15 rather than top 5 would be a commendable result.

"We saw in Qatar that the MotoGP grid is as competitive as ever," said the Frenchman. "Everybody is very, very close, so clearly, we are in the learning process and not in a position where we can fight for the top five, but the target for both our riders is to finish in the points and hopefully together with Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco our two guys will help the whole KTM project to become stronger.”

Oliveira has been on the Termas podium for the last two seasons in Moto2.

"Argentina is the first track I’m riding without testing at before," he said. "I guess, it will be different and we will need to adapt quicker to the conditions and to the track layout. We'll discover this bike with the track, [which] I already know and liked a lot.

"Hopefully we can keep on fighting where we finished in Qatar, which was for the points. So, this is my goal, continuing to improve my riding, getting better with the team, with the bike and the whole setup. I feel confident and ready to fight again.”

A distant last in Qatar, Syahrin is keen to turn the page.

"I’m just really looking forward to the next race in Argentina. I want to improve myself overall, but also getting along better with the bike and learn as much as I can. Let’s see what we can do," said the Malaysian.

"During these last weeks off after the first round in Qatar, I have been training very hard. I hope everything goes well. Let’s work hard and push!”



Loading Comments...