Herve Poncharal has run the Tech3 racing team for over three decades, including 19 years spent in the premier 500cc/MotoGP class with Yamaha and now KTM support.

Since 2006 the Frenchman has also been president of the teams' association IRTA, facing challenges such as the financial crisis, which resulted in two factories withdrawing from MotoGP and just twelve full prototypes on the grid.

But the coronavirus pandemic currently paralysing much of the world is on another scale.

"2008 was a financial crisis, because of the banking system and bad credit, but while most of the economy was hit it was still functioning and people were still going to work, buying things, travelling," Poncharal told Crash.net. "This is different."

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Among the key figures working to navigate MotoGP through the present crisis are Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and sporting director Carlos Ezpeleta, plus Poncharal and IRTA CEO Mike Trimby.

"We are a good group," Poncharal said. "I have a lot of respect and I would say even admiration for Carmelo Ezpeleta. Carmelo is 74, I am 63 and honestly I still have a lot of passion for running a team.

"Even though the results last year were not as thrilling as we had with Yamaha, it was very exciting to start working with KTM and Red Bull.

"But now I'm worried because I want to save my company, mainly to save all the staff I have. This is my main priority; save the staff. It's a big worry that doesn't help me to sleep well.

"On the other side, I'm an old fighter now and in racing sometimes you like to face challenges because, if you have a racing spirit, you like to have a hill to climb.

"Now we have a big steep hill in front of us, which is the crisis, so it's a tough but also an exciting time. Let's try to climb it. This is also a race in a way."

Poncharal describes the Tech3-KTM partnership as 'mission unaccomplished' after a best of eighth place in last year, but the coronavirus means 'exciting' development plans will be revised in the face of a technical freeze.

"Our team staff understand the fight we are all in and we are lucky to have not only the special financial support given to the Independent teams by Dorna, but the backing and constant exchange of ideas with KTM, especially Pit Beirer, and Red Bull," Poncharal said.

"Even the top guy from Elf/Total has called to say they will be staying on our side and helping us the best they can. For all these guys, you feel there are still things to do and that so far it's mission unaccomplished.

"I signed with KTM for three years and I think the '19-'20-'21 programme was incredibly exciting, but now there is like a pause in the progression. Because 2021 will be on the same spec bikes as 2020, so a lot of things we had planned will not be able to happen in the same timeframe.

"But this is the situation and we must all adapt to it."

As well as MotoGP, Tech3 competes in Moto3 and MotoE.

Ruggia and Herve Poncharal, Dutch TT 1995