“Things look quite promising for this year”
Yamaha Tech3's Herve Poncharal has provided us with a thorough assessment of his team's preparations for the 2008 season so far, following visits to Sepang and Phillip Island – with the MotoGP Official Test just around the corner.
The affable French team boss has been pleased with the work of new recruits Colin Edwards and James Toseland in the 2008 pre-season tests to date and is happy with the position of the team with two more tests to go - at Jerez and Qatar - before the first Grand Prix in Qatar in just under one month's time.
Poncharal explains: "We tested at Sepang alongside the other teams and then we moved on for three days of testing at Phillip Island. We decided to split the workload with the factory Yamaha team who did no go to Australia and they resumed testing the following week with another test at Sepang, which proved to be pretty productive for Yamaha."
"We're pleased with the way testing went. At Sepang Colin was amongst the fastest riders in race trim and in Australia the riders produced great lap times with qualifying tyres. Looking at the overall lap times for the three days at Phillip Island, Colin and James were second and fourth fastest", continues Poncharal. "Although, of course some of the top riders, Dani (Pedrosa), Valentino (Rossi) and Jorge (Lorenzo) were missing, so we have to take those results with a pinch of salt. But anyway it was a positive result."
Summarising the situation, Poncharal adds: "Both riders quickly settled within the team and they're doing a great job. Our collaboration with Yamaha also continues fruitfully and things look quite promising for this year.
The 2008 season should be quite exciting, there will be a huge competition between tyre manufacturers and the bikes should be closer than last year."
Having overseen the Yamaha Tech3 collaboration with Dunlop, which came to an end at the conclusion of last season, Poncharal hopes for greater competitiveness from the team's new partnership with Michelin - as the French tyre suppliers attempt to bounce back from what was a disappointing year from their perspective in 2007.
"Colin is the best placed to comment on Michelin's work and he's only made positive comments so far", says Poncharal. "He wasn't expecting such a step up compared to last season. Wet tyre testing at Phillip Island was also quite positive. We're starting from a good level but it's hard to say how much room for improvement there is for both tyres manufacturers, so it will be an interesting season for sure and we'll be aiming to fight for podium positions."
In conclusion Poncharal also noted that his two new riders – who were previously team-mates in their Superbike and Supersport days - have immediately struck up a good relationship with their teams of mechanics and that the Tech3 pit box is currently a happy place to be.
"So far the testing results proved pretty positive, but above anything else, they way the riders work with the team is great", states Poncharal. "They do a great job on the track but also in the garage, they have already built a great relationship with the staff and they also get along well with each other, as they have already ridden together in the past. In the end, only the results count but it's always better if you can do it in a friendly atmosphere, with everybody pushing for the same thing. It can seem secondary but the human factor also counts and we're quite pleased in that regard. It's been a long time since we had such a good feeling within the team."
DORNA / CAPSIS International