With 34 teams signed up for the inaugrial Moto2 season, the series is over-subscribed for its launch in 2010. Adding itself to the fray allegedly is the French MotoGP team, Tech3. With Moto2 being such an enticing series for lower budget satellite teams, does MotoGP risk losing teams to Moto2 more than WSBK?
In an interview with the French motorcycle magazine MotoRevue, the team manager Herve Poncharal explains why the MotoGP team is looking to the Moto2 series.
“MotoGP teams like us have little more to do at a weekend than just adjust the bike and fiddle with the settings. We have nothing more to do, it’s stipulated in our contracts that we are not allowed to make any modifications to the machines which have been placed at our disposal. If you have a highly-skilled team, it’s hard to hang on to them if you don’t have enough of a challenge for your boys for the entire year.”
Poncharal speaks of the contracts that satellite teams enter into when they are supplied bikes by manufacturers. The bikes are only leased to the teams, and as a consequence, there’s only a very limited number of options the teams have for setting the bikes up for race day.
“Moto2 will allow us to get back to what we used to do during the winter and the Grand Prix. We have young engineers who do fewer races than their counterparts in Supersport. If we can give them more work to do, they are more likely to want to stay with us.”
The Moto2 class has so many advantages for Tech 3 that it could lead them to focus there efforts in the new class, and move away from MotoGP. “We are all being forced to reconsider our activities,” Poncharal told MotoRevue. For the past 10 years or so, the factories have been tightening their grip on the machines they lease to private teams, allowing the teams to do less and less to the bikes.
These restrictions prevent the teams from being competitive. While the factory continues to develop the factory bikes, improving them throughout the season, the satellite teams are left to wait for upgrades from the factory, usually waiting in line behind the factory supported teams for the scraps from the table.
If there is one thing the manufacturers fear more than being beaten by other factories, it’s being beaten by their satellite teams. Restricting the flow of parts to the satellite teams and the amount of development they can do is one way of ensuring the factory teams don’t get shown up.
So far, though, Tech 3 are still in MotoGP. But with the Moto2 class such an attractive prospect, and so much more affordable than MotoGP, the new class could end up being as much of a threat to the premier class as World Superbikes.