Tech3 to split with Yamaha at the end of the season


On the eve of the 2018 MotoGP season that starts in Qatar on 18th March, Tech3 and Yamaha have made a surprising announcement this morning that they’ll be parting ways at the end of the season.

After 20 years of leasing the Yamaha machines, the small French team owned and run by Herve Poncheral, also confirmed they’ll continue in the MotoGP and Moto2 World Championships but that announcement will come at a later date.

Poignantly, Poncheral was quoted as saying, “We’ve been offered a deal, that includes something we’ve been waiting for almost since we started with Tech3 and I couldn’t say no.”

Does that mean factory support from KTM? Quite possibly.

After a busy few weeks for Tech3 who have had to replace Jonas Folger, after his illness has forced him to sit out the 2018 season, with MotoGP debutant, Hafizh Syahrin. The Malaysian made good progress at the recent Thailand-based pre-season MotoGP test, finishing +1.756 from the quickest man, Dani Pedrosa.

Yamaha will now be mulling over a decision whether to run a satellite team in 2019 and beyond. If so, the immediate and rather obvious front runners would be the VR46 Sky Racing Team - could that therefore mean this is Valentino Rossi's final season as a MotoGP rider.


Britain's Cal Crutchlow (above) rode for Tech3 from 2011 to 2013 scoring six podiums for the French team 


Kouichi Tsuji, President, YMR, said, “Very recently we were informed by Hervé Poncharal, the owner of Tech3, that he has decided not to extend his contract with Yamaha to lease YZR-M1 bikes. After discussions with Hervé it was clear that he has chosen to align with a new partner for the future and therefore, regretfully, we were obliged to respect and accept his decision. The end of such a successful partnership is always a bit sad, as it also marks the end of a long-term relationship. We are very grateful for Hervé’s loyalty and support to the Yamaha brand and for the excellent results obtained throughout that time. We will continue to provide our full support to the Tech3 team and their riders throughout the 2018 season, while we simultaneously evaluate our options for an alternative team in the MotoGP World Championship class for 2019 and beyond.”


Hervé Ponceharal, said, “To summarize 20 years of an incredible partnership between Tech3 and Yamaha in a few words is a very difficult mission. Since I first met Mr. Iio in 1998, where he gave me the opportunity to join Yamaha Motor Corporation, it has been an extraordinary journey together. All I remember are fantastic memories, great results, an awesome atmosphere and astonishing feelings we shared with the Yamaha family, which will always be in my mind and in my heart. Clearly, to end that kind of partnership is a big decision for me. All I want to say is more than a huge thank you to Yamaha, to Mr. Tsuji, Mr. Tsuya, Mr. Jarvis and Mr. Nakajima, plus all the guys that have been supporting and helping us. Tech3 is a small company, which has to think about the future and has to weigh the different options. We’ve been offered a deal, that includes something we’ve been waiting for almost since we started with Tech3 and I couldn’t say no. But obviously, we are the Monster Yamaha Team until the last lap of the Valencia GP 2018. Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin will be fighting for top positions and without a doubt, Yamaha can count on us to be a loyal performant partner. One more time a huge thank you for Yamaha’s support. I hope they can carry on and have the success they deserve and eventually find a partner to replace Tech3.”



Bradley Smith

Bradley Smith had an inconsistent three year spell at Tech3 which ended in 2016


Tech3 Team‘s Highlights:



Hervé Poncharal starts the Tech3 project and begin his Grand Prix adventure by contesting in the 250cc World Championship



Tech3 and Yamaha partner up in the 250cc championship

Olivier Jacque – 4th 

Shinya Nakano – 7th 


2000 (250cc)

Olivier Jacque - 1st

Shinya Nakano – 2nd


2001 (500cc)

Shinya Nakano - 5th

Olivier Jacque - 15th


2002 (MotoGP)

Olivier Jacque - 10th

Shinya Nakano - 11th


2003 (MotoGP)

Alex Barros - 9th

Olivier Jacque - 12th


2004 (MotoGP)

Marco Melandri - 12th

Norifumi Abe - 13th


2005 (MotoGP)

Toni Elías - 12th

Rubén Xaus - 16th

David Checa - 26th


2006 (MotoGP)

Carlos Checa - 15th

James Ellison - 18th


2007 (MotoGP)

Sylvain Guintoli - 16th - Rookie of the Year

Makoto Tamada - 18th


2008 (MotoGP)

Colin Edwards - 7th

James Toseland - 11th


2009 (MotoGP)

Colin Edwards - 5th

James Toseland - 14th


2010 (MotoGP)

Ben Spies - 6th - Rookie of the Year

Colin Edwards - 11th


2011 (MotoGP)

Colin Edwards - 9th

Cal Crutchlow - 12th - Rookie of the Year

Josh Hayes - 19th


2012 (MotoGP)

Andrea Dovizioso - 4th

Cal Crutchlow - 7th


2013 (MotoGP)

Cal Crutchlow - 5th

Bradley Smith - 10th


2014 (MotoGP)

Pol Espargaró - 6th - Rookie of the Year

Bradley Smith - 8th


2015 (MotoGP)

Bradley Smith - 6th

Pol Espargaró - 9th


2016 (MotoGP)

Pol Espargaró - 8th

Bradley Smith - 17th

Alex Lowes - 24th


2017 (MotoGP)

Johann Zarco - 7th - Rookie of the Year

Jonas Folger - 10th