Bombshell: Yamaha And Tech3 To Part Ways For 2019 - Who Takes Yamahas, Who Supplies Tech3?

If you thought the 2019 MotoGP Silly Season was already in high gear, a bombshell announcement has just put it into overdrive. Today, the Monster Tech3 Yamaha team announced that from 2019, they will be parting ways. Tech3 will no longer be a satellite Yamaha team.

The split brings to an end an association of nearly 20 years with Yamaha. They first started in 1999 with Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque in 250cc, before switching to the premier class with the same pair in 2001. Tech3 have been a loyal partner for many years, giving up one seat to a factory-backed rider on a number of occasions, as occurred with Ben Spies, Colin Edwards, and Pol Espargaro.

However, there had been a few signs of tension over the past few months. Although Hervé Poncharal remained ever the gentleman when talking about Yamaha, toeing the company line, there were occasional hints of frustration in his response to questions, though never anything explicit. With Tech3 having been given a better offer from a different manufacturer - as the press release states - that made it easier to end the association with Yamaha.

That huge piece of news opens up a whole range of questions. Who will be supplying Tech3 with MotoGP bikes next year? Will Yamaha have a satellite team in 2019? And does this open the door to the VR46 team to make their entry into MotoGP? 

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Pecco Bagnaia To Move To MotoGP In 2019 With Pramac Ducati

Pecco Bagnaia is to move up to MotoGP with the Pramac Ducati team in 2019 and 2020. The news was announced on Twitter by the SkyVR46 team, and confirmed by Bagnaia himself on his Twitter feed.

The move is not a surprise. Bagnaia had been widely tipped to move to MotoGP with Ducati, with Paolo Ciabatti admitting at the launch back in January that the Italian factory had an interest in the 21 year old. 

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Press Release: Hafizh Syahrin Confirmed As Second Monster Tech 3 Yamaha Rider For 2018 Season

Hafizh Syahrin will contest the 2018 MotoGP season for the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team alongside Johann Zarco. The Tech 3 team today confirmed that the Malaysian rider will take the place of Jonas Folger, who has decided to sit out the season due to illness. 

The press release from Tech 3 appears below:


Monster Yamaha Tech3 to compete the 2018 MotoGP season with Hafizh Syahrin

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - What's going on at Yamaha?

The factory team seems in disarray, so could Johann Zarco be Yamaha’s greatest hope for this year’s MotoGP crown?

The Movistar Yamaha team seems to be digging itself an ever-deeper hole. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi completed the second tests of the year in eighth and 12th positions. Their lap times weren’t a disaster, but more worryingly, both riders were confused by their inability to get closer to the front, which is always a bad sign.

On Sunday evening Viñales seemed so lost that it was hard not to feel a bit sorry for him.

“By a long way this is the worst test,” he said. “Even Sepang, that was the worst one since I’ve been at Yamaha, then today it’s even worse. I don't know… Honestly, I don’t know. We are struggling as a factory team, so I don’t know. I don’t know what to say. It’s difficult… We are missing a little bit in all areas. I’ve used different chassis, different engines, different electronics, but there is no solution, so I don't know. Honestly, I don't know... Maybe it’s better to ask Yamaha…”

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2018 Phillip Island World Superbike Tuesday Test Times: Rea Leads The Way Once Again

Reigning WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea returned to the top of the timesheets on the second day of the test at Phillip Island on Tuesday. Despite a small crash in the morning, Rea took a commanding lead over his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes, who was two tenths slower than Rea.

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2018 Phillip Island World Supersport Tuesday Test Times: Krummenacher Leads Yamaha Clean Sweep

Randy Krummenacher leads a clean sweep of the Phillip Island World Supersport test for Yamaha. After a difficult year in WorldSBK, the Swiss rider has got his step back to the WorldSSP class off to a strong start, beating both the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP riders. Lucas Mahias took second, ahead of his teammate Federico Caricasulo. Newcomer Sandro Cortese got his WorldSSP career off to a strong start, ending the test in fourth on the Kallio Racing Yamaha R6.

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2018 Phillip Island World Superbike Monday Test Times: Melandri Takes Charge As Rea Takes A Tumble

Marco Melandri has struck the first blow on the opening day of a two-day test for the WorldSBK class at Phillip Island. The Aruba.it Ducati rider was over a third of a second quicker than second place man Tom Sykes on the factory Kawasaki. In turn, Sykes was two tenths faster than his teammate, reigning WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea.

The Kawasaki men both suffered crashes at Turn 11, with Rea having a very large highside which persuaded him to skip the second session on Monday afternoon. His time in the first session was good enough to keep his third place.

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2018 Phillip Island World Supersport Monday Test Times: Yamahas Dominate On Opening Day Of Test

Lucas Mahias got his WorldSSP title defense off to a strong start in Phillip Island, topping the first day of testing ahead of this weekend's season opener at the Australian track. Despite strong winds blowing down the Gardner Straight and making life difficult in both the first and final sectors of the track, Mahias ended up a couple of hundredths ahead of his teammate, Federico Caricasulo.

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2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Sunday Round Up: A Comprehensive Look At Factory Fortunes

Have we emerged any the wiser after three days of testing at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand by the MotoGP field? That is hard to say. The test was more for the benefit of Michelin than for the teams, and the French tire maker brought some 2000 tires for the 24 riders who took part in the test. The track itself was not particularly challenging or instructive in terms of understanding how well bike development was going. "This track is also not so easy or so difficult, it's intermediate," is how Monster Tech 3 Yamaha replacement Hafizh Syahrin summed it up.

Is it possible to draw conclusions about how the 2018 championship might play out on the basis of the Buriram test? "No, impossible," Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso said, before proceeding to do just that in some detail. "I can see Marc in a better shape than at the beginning of last year," Dovizioso said. "I can see Dani in a good shape, I can see Zarco with a little bit more experience, so a little bit better for the championship than last year."

It was harder to judge the Movistar Yamahas, Dovizioso said. "It's very difficult to understand the two factory Yamahas, because they will be fast in the race, on race weekends, for sure. But when you look at the riders and the teams from outside, it's impossible to know the details, so I don't know. I can see the Pramac riders are fast, they are happy with the bike, so I think they will be quite fast during the season."

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2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Sunday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the final day of the test at Buriram in Thailand:


Pedrosa sets the fastest time in Buriram, Marquez shows the best pace

Today in Thailand, the Repsol Honda Team concluded another very productive session of testing that saw Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa continue working on the general development of their RC213V, carrying out tests on the latest engine configuration, chassis, aerodynamics, and Michelin tyres. Over the three days, Marc completed a total of 271 laps, Dani 224.

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2018 Buriram MotoGP Test: Pedrosa Fastest Overall, Syahrin Most Improved

Dani Pedrosa leaves the MotoGP test in Thailand as fastest over all three days, the Repsol Honda rider posting his best time of the test late on Sunday afternoon. Tech 3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco did much the same, beating the best time of Marc Marquez set on Saturday.

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2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Sunday Final Times: Pedrosa Takes Top Spot In Final Dash

Dani Pedrosa made a final dash for glory on the last day of the MotoGP test at Buriram, the Repsol Honda rider taking top spot from Johann Zarco, who had led the way since the morning. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider came up just under a hundredth short of Pedrosa, but put in multiple laps in the 1'29s, demonstrating his pace on new tires. 

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