Red Bull KTM
Ready To Race Qatar MotoGP season opener
More has changed than most for the France based Tech3 Racing Team as we head towards MotoGP season 2019.
After many years on Yamaha machinery and much success, twice coming third in the Team’s Championship, and Andrea Dovizioso finishing fourth in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship on a Tech3 Yamaha, Hervé Poncharal’s Tech3 squad have become the first satellite squad supported by KTM in the MotoGP World Championship.
The transition to the Austrian machinery has no doubt raised many challenges for the entire team, but they are determined to meet those challenges head on, as Team Manager Hervé Poncharal explains.
Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Team Manager
“Finally, we are in Qatar and the 2019 MotoGP season is going to start. A new season beginning is always something very exciting, but clearly for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team this year is even more thrilling than the previous because we are opening a new chapter, we will commence a new adventure, we have a new motorcycle manufacturer working with us with KTM, a new title sponsor with Red Bull and a new oil partner with Elf, so it seems we are almost starting from scratch. Of course, we were working really hard during off-season in Spain, Malaysia and Qatar, but we are also very eager and impatient to see what is going happen in first race. Clearly, we are not in a position at moment where we can challenge the top, but the mission this season is to reduce the gap to the fastest riders. I believe with Miguel Oliveira, we have an incredible rider with a huge potential and the strong desire to be part of this project and making it moving forward. Hafizh is in same spirit, he still has to forget a little bit about what he was doing on last years’ machine, but I think they get on very well together and they understand the importance of MotoGP for KTM, plus they can witness the level of commitment from the engineers in Austria, they can feel they are factory riders with a racing department behind them with evolution coming almost every test and this is what makes this new season very entertaining. Our target is to be as close as possible to the full factory KTM MotoGP riders and of course all together to race the level of performance of our KTM RC16 machine and the whole team is 100% dedicated to this mission. We can’t wait to start on Friday night in Losail!”
The riders too have had to meet new challenges. Malaysia’s Hafizh Syahrin acquitted himself very well throughout his debut year on the Tech3 Yamaha machinery, however he has struggled to adapt to the KTM. The 24-year-old has been at the very back of the field in almost every test session, but hopes to turn that form around as the season progresses.
“I’m looking forward to the first race very much! We had some tough pre-season tests, where we tried to adapt to the bike step by step. It was pretty good and I felt better and better with the bike, although we were still quite slow, but we believe that we can arrive at the top one day with this amazing group, so we keep on working hard, try to understand everything and keep the mind fresh to be ready for race day. Let’s see what we can do, I hope to be further up in the standings than during the preseason tests.”
After coming into the squad straight from Moto2, Miguel Oliveira has no other MotoGP machine as a reference point. Also 24, the Portuguese rider finished as runner-up to Francesco Bagnaia in the 2018 Moto2 Title chase, and seems to be adapating well to the powerful MotoGP bikes.
“I think the approach for the first GP is always quite simple, it’s to do my best and try to do my job as always, plus making the team happy with my performance. I feel it’s important for me to finish the race, to get experience and to get to know where to improve my riding. The most important thing is to gather this experience in my first race in MotoGP, I don’t think about any result in specific. Of course, the outcome is always important, but as it’s the first race for me, I don’t focus on anything definite. My goal is to do a good job, give my maximum and to leave Qatar with a smile.”
2019 MotoGP Round One Schedule (AEDT)
East Coast Daylight Savings Time
- MotoGP FP1 – Friday 2340-0025
- MotoGP FP2 – Saturday 0400-0445
- MotoGP FP3 – Saturday 2315-0000
- MotoGP FP4 – Sunday 0320-0350
- MotoGP Q1 – Sunday 0400-0415
- MotoGP Q2 – Sunday 0425-0440
- MotoGP Race – Monday 0400