After winning its first ever MotoGP races last season, including a dream farewell to Miguel Oliveira in Portimao, a 'tough' 2021 has seen Tech3 KTM left outside of the podium places and near the tail end of the world championship standings.

The biggest change was the loss of Oliveira to the factory KTM team, who was replaced alongside Iker Lecuona by double Ducati race winner Danilo Petrucci, but the RC16 has also been hit-and-miss in terms of competitiveness this season.

"Fortunately, I've been here for quite a few seasons and I know what happens today isn't what will happen tomorrow," Poncharal said. "For sure we ended the 2020 season on a dream; pole position, lap record, leading the race from start to finish. But I knew it was not going to be exactly the same when we would be on the starting grid in Qatar 2021.

"We changed a few things, some important things, that are the riders! I would say this season has been a tough one. You have to look at the results but also look the amount of work, and we've been working very hard, together with KTM. We had ups and downs all of us, KTM and Tech3."

Petrucci has struggled for top speed and weight balance due to his larger size, only been able to show frontrunning pace in the wet, most notably a fifth place at Le Mans. Lecuona's second MotoGP season has produced a best of sixth place so far, leaving the pair 18th and 19th in the world championship with two rounds to go.

"I would like to say we've enjoyed the relationship with both Danilo and Iker. The results were not what they were expecting, or what we were expecting, but there are a lot of explanations behind," Poncharal said.

"We can see that the competitivity of the MotoGP grid is incredible. Sometimes a few tenths behind is not in the top ten, which doesn’t give you the chance to go directly to Qualifying 2 etc etc.

"So it was a tough year but you still have some things to enjoy and I'm really glad to see both of our riders are not left without anything [for 2022].

"Danilo is going to open a new chapter in his career. He's going to be on an official KTM for the next Dakar Rally, which was his dream, and I would like to thank Stefan Pierer for giving him this opportunity."

Lecuona is staying on asphalt but switching to the World Superbike championship with Honda.

"Iker is going to have an interesting ride next season, his career will be able to move on and he will be able to grow. Because he's only 21 and he's a real talent," Poncharal said.

But if this season has been difficult, there is a real buzz about Tech3's all-new 2022 rider line-up of rookie stars Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez.

The pair, currently team-mates at Ajo, are guaranteed to finish first and second in this year's Moto2 World Championship, Gardner starting the final rounds with an 18-point lead over Fernandez.

"It's more than a little excitement, we can feel and we can see how gifted we will be next year," said Poncharal. "I know Remy because we've already been working together for two years in our Moto2 team [2017, 2018]. And I've been following Raul Fernandez, as we all have, since he joined the world championship.

"I think we've got two incredible talents, two really nice guys."

The current Gardner vs Fernandez team-mate title duel hasn’t been seen in the intermediate class since Tech3 riders Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque battled to the chequered flag of the 2000 season finale in 250cc.

"I wouldn't like to be in Ajo's shoes because I've been there when we were with both Nakano and Jacque arriving at Phillip Island with three points between them," smiled Poncharal.

"So I think both Remy and Raul deserve to be champion this season but we are glad to think we are going to have a world champion and a vice world champion from Moto2 in our MotoGP team next year.

"We had the chance to have them on the MotoGP bike in Misano [test] and we could see that already after a few laps they were on a real interesting pace, the comments were amazing. So we are very excited.

"We are impatient to be in Jerez [in November for testing], 2022 looks very exciting and I think we'll give a hard time to the other satellite teams."