Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Pedro Acosta
Pedro Acosta

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Country: France France

About Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 in 2024

After changing both its riders for the previous two seasons, the rebranded GASGAS Tech3 team keeps Augusto Fernandez alongside KTM prodigy Pedro Acosta, the most highly anticipated MotoGP rookie since Marc Marquez.

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Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 in 2024

After changing both its riders for the previous two seasons, the rebranded GASGAS Tech3 team keeps Augusto Fernandez alongside KTM prodigy Pedro Acosta, the most highly anticipated MotoGP rookie since Marc Marquez.

Tech3’s MotoGP history

Formed in 1990 by Herve Poncharal, Guy Coulon and Bernard Martignac, Tech3 made its name in the 250GP class, where Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano finished a perfect one-two with Yamaha machinery in the 2000 world championship.

That provided the springboard for both team and riders to join the premier 500cc class in 2001, again supported by Yamaha.

Jacque had got the upper hand over Nakano in their 250 title showdown but it was the Japanese who stood on the podium during their rookie 500GP season on the way to an excellent fifth in the standings.

Both remained on the Gauloises-backed bikes for 2002 and the start of the new MotoGP era, beginning the season on the ‘old’ 500s before receiving the new M1 four-stroke for the final three rounds.

But the early M1 was no match for the Honda RC211V and a third place for new 2003 signing Alex Barros in the team’s home Le Mans round was not only Tech3’s debut four-stroke rostrum but the only podium for Yamaha during a winless season.

While Barros swiftly returned to Honda for 2004, Valentino Rossi’s arrival at the factory team saw Marco Melandri transferred to Tech3 (now in Fortuna colours) alongside another new Tech3 rider, 500cc ace Norick Abe.

Melandri took a pair of early podiums but his season ended with a nightmare five DNFs from six races, sending him into the arms of Gresini Honda, while Abe couldn’t break the top six.

Ruben Xaus became the first of several big name former World Superbike stars to join Tech3 in 2005, alongside Toni Elias, but it would mark the start of a three-year podium drought (not helped by a switch to Dunlop tyres for 2006 and 2007).

Silverware returned to Tech3 in 2008 when the teams fifth all-new rider line-up in as many seasons saw Colin Edwards, pushed out of the factory Yamaha team by the arrival of Jorge Lorenzo, claim third place at Le Mans and again at Assen.

Alongside Edwards was another WorldSBK champion, James Toseland, who impressed with six sixth-places in his rookie grand prix campaign. Both were retained for 2009, when a surprise switch of crew chiefs, instigated by Toseland, strained the team’s atmosphere.

Edwards came out on top with a runner-up finish on his way to matching Nakano’s fifth in the world championship from 2001, while Toseland lost ground for 14th and lost his 2010 seat to newly crowned WorldSBK champion Ben Spies.

Spies kept Tech3’s podium run alive by spraying champagne in Silverstone and Indianapolis, before being fast-tracked to the factory team, but Edwards didn’t manage better than a fifth place.

The Texan, now joined by another WorldSBK star in the form of Cal Crutchlow, was back on the podium for what would be the final time in his grand prix career at Silverstone 2011.

Edwards was replaced by Repsol Honda reject Andrea Dovizioso for 2012, the unassuming Italian relaunching his MotoGP career with a Tech3 record of six podiums and fourth in the world championship. 

Crutchlow also took his first podiums during a memorable season for the French squad, which finished behind only Repsol Honda and Yamaha Factory Racing in the teams’ championship.

With Dovi tempted by Ducati for 2013, Crutchlow stepped up to team leader and came close to matching the Italian’s heroics with four podiums and fifth in the world championship. The Englishman then left to rejoin Dovizioso as a factory Ducati rider.

After a steadily improving rookie season, Bradley Smith, promoted from Tech3’s Moto2 team to join Crutchlow for 2012, surprised by fending off the challenge of reigning Moto2 champion Pol Espargaro - and taking a podium - during 2013.

The Smith-Espargaro partnership continued for three seasons, Smith peaking with sixth in the 2015 standings and Espargaro eighth in 2016, before both were signed for the new KTM MotoGP team.

In their place came rookies Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger, the Frenchman dazzling from his Qatar debut, taking three podiums and getting within inches of a Tech3 MotoGP victory in the Valencia finale.

Folger’s MotoGP career was already effectively over by that point with the German, who battled Marc Marquez on his way to a home podium at Sachsenring, suddenly withdrawing due to health issues on the eve of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Poncharal kept hoping Folger would be fit to return in 2018 but another last-minute phone call from the young German announced the end of his full-time grand prix career and sent Tech3 scrambling for a replacement.

Hafizh Syahrin was plucked from Moto2 to make history as Malaysia’s first MotoGP rider and, against the expectations of many, performed solidly. Meanwhile, Zarco retained sixth place in the world championship with three more podiums during Tech3’s final season on Yamaha machinery.

While Zarco was heading for the factory KTM team, Poncharal had surprised the paddock by signing to become the Austrian manufacturer’s satellite squad from 2019.

It didn’t start well, with Syahrin and new team-mate Miguel Oliveira often struggling just to score points, but the Portuguese made a big step for the 2020 covid season, storming to Tech3’s first MotoGP victory in a final turn showdown in Austria then repeating the feat at his home Portimao finale.

Oliveira then headed to the factory KTM team for 2021, when Ducati race winner Danilo Petrucci arrived at Tech3 alongside Iker Lecuona, a best of ninth in his rookie 2020 season.

Petrucci never felt comfortable on a bike designed for much smaller riders, but provided the team’s main highlight with fifth in the wet at Le Mans. Lecuona took a best of sixth in even more bizarre weather conditions in Austria, where both learned that they would lose their seats for 2022.

Poncharal appeared uneasy at the way the KTM rider decisions were announced, mid-session, but the factory felt they had little choice but to promote both of their Moto2 stars, Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez, first and second in the standings.

2022 would be a miserable season for both, Fernandez being released to join RNF in 2023 while Gardner was upset to find out his services were not required for the new look GASGAS Tech3 project.

The experienced Pol Espargaro was hired to headline the GASGAS rebranding, thus returning to KTM machinery after two miserable seasons at Repsol Honda.

But although Oliveira (replaced by Jack Miller at the factory team) turned down KTM’s offer of the other Tech3 seat, the factory’s new Moto2 champion Augusto Fernandez was then hired in place of Gardner.

2023 also saw Poncharal hand over team manager duties to long-time Tech3 employee Nicolas Goyon, while remaining as team principal (and president of IRTA).

Espargaro’s season was ruined by a nasty accident during practice for the Portimao opener, when he hit an unprotected barrier and suffered ten fractures to his back, neck, ribs and jaw.

The extensive damage meant Espargaro was 1.5cm shorter when he returned to the paddock after the summer break, by which time KTM were trying to resolve a five riders/four seats conundrum for 2024.

Pedro Acosta was now on his way to the Moto2 title and had no intention of staying for a title defence. Espargaro’s injuries made him the obvious candidate to step down to test and wild-card duties, but it took a lot of persuading before he finally agreed.

While Espargaro was sidelined and replaced by KTM test rider and former Tech3 racer Folger, Augusto Fernandez delighted the team with a fighting fourth place at Le Mans. However, he would make only two further top ten appearances.

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