After 40-years involvement in motorcycle racing, Herve Poncharal's Tech3 team finally claimed a MotoGP victory in the most dramatic circumstances at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Sunday.

Miguel Oliveira was in a close third place on the final lap, but when Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro forced each wide at the very last the Portuguese was ready and waiting, sweeping past them both on the inside

"I saw that Pol started to keep a quite defensive line and I thought they could both lose a lot of time, so I could take advantage of that," Oliveira said. "In the last corner, I let them both fight and just went to the inside. When I saw the chequered flag and no one around, it was just pure joy!"

Pure joy also erupted in the Tech3 pits as a team that joined grand prix in 1990 and moved to the premier-class in 2001 finally achieved the victory Poncharal feared might never happen.

“What an incredible day, incredible emotions!" Poncharal said. "It is something like 40 years we’ve been in this business and we never won a MotoGP race.

"Honestly, I thought that was never going to happen and today our dream came true. Here in Austria, which is in front of our title sponsor Red Bull, in front of the KTM management, our manufacturer."

Just a few hours earlier, Poncharal and Tech3 had suffered the disappointment of seeing their Moto3 riders Deniz Oncu and Ayumu Sasaki take each other out while fighting in the lead group.

"To be honest, this morning, I was so down when I saw my two Moto3 riders, who collided when they were on course for a podium and I thought maybe it’s time for me to retire, because when you are deeply involved, I was really, really sad about that," Poncharal said.

"And now I’m almost the happiest man in the world. Only racing can give you these up and down emotions."

Tech3 had celebrated poles and podiums while running satellite Yamaha machinery from 2001-2018 and some paddock reaction was far from positive when the team announced a move to KTM for 2019.

"Some people are laughing at us, thinking we made a big mistake," Poncharal told Crash.net at the time.

Instead, KTM's rapid rise through the MotoGP ranks means they have now won two of the five races this season.

"I would like to of course thank Red Bull, thank KTM, without who it would have been impossible. I would like also to dedicate this victory to Miguel, because he has been pushing a lot," Poncharal said.

"Year one was not easy, he was injured the second half of the season. We’ve been fast since the beginning of this year, the bike improved, he improved, but we could never really show it due to some racing circumstances and I knew he could do it.

"Now we’ve done it.

"I’m very proud to see two KTM on the rostrum. Clearly, this is now one of the bikes to beat. We’ve done an incredible job with the factory, the engineers, the test team with Dani Pedrosa, for sure to have four riders helped a lot and of course I would like to thank Stefan Pierer, Hubert Trunkenpolz, Pit Beirer, Mike Leitner, Jens Hainbach, without who it would have been impossible.

"It’s not only the fact that we won, we won with these people behind us and this is an incredible group. I have been working with different manufacturers, but this one is more than special.

"They said they are ready to race and this is not only a slogan, but the reality. There is such a big involvement, such a passion for racing and this is contagious, so let’s celebrate tonight, let’s hope there will be some other exciting days like today."

Oliveira, who crashed out in an incident with Espargaro one week earlier at the first Red Bull Ring round, is now ninth in the world championship.

Rookie team-mate Iker Lecuona finished the Styrian race in tenth place.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...