Patience key for Pol Espargaro’s factory Yamaha ambitions
23 September 2013 11:56
Yamaha newcomer Pol Espargaro will need to be patient to realise his factory Yamaha ambitions with a works YZR-M1 seat potentially unavailable until 2017.
The Spanish Moto2 title contender will take Cal Crutchlow’s seat in the satellite Tech 3 operation next season, with his clear intention to secure a switch to the factory squad in 2015.
Yamaha though has made it clear that it intends to agree new contracts with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi until the end of 2016, potentially slamming the door shut on a factory YZR-M1 berth to Espargaro for the next three years.
Yamaha’s desire to retain Lorenzo and Rossi beyond 2014 was a key reason for Crutchlow quitting Tech 3 to complete a multi-million pound switch to Ducati.
At 22, Espargaro would have been clearly motivated by the chance to prove himself in 2014 before earning a factory promotion.
But Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told MCN: "Every young rider wants to make progress but first you have to be quick. Cal has been there three years and year one was not the easiest, the second year was better and now he is ready to go to a factory bike. Pol hasn't yet ridden a MotoGP bike, so we are going to give him a great opportunity to ride a factory spec M1 that is capable of doing very well, as Cal has proved. Step one will be to come in and perform and then step up. Will he be immediately competitive? Maybe but we don't know because it is not easy against this competition. A young rider also needs some patience."
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal though doesn’t believe Espargaro’s motivation will suffer at the prospect of seeing his factory Yamaha ambitions put on hold for the foreseeable future.
Poncharal told MCN: “I am sure Yamaha has been smart enough to have explained the situation to Pol. In case Yamaha sign Jorge and Valentino again for 2015 and 2016 they can give him what he wants because the contract he has signed he is obviously happy with. If he has got the same spec as the rest then it doesn’t matter if it is blue or black. I guess they have discussed that and Pol is happy with the situation. He knows Valentino and Jorge could sign again for 2015 and he might have to stay in Tech 3 but if you ask Cal (Crutchlow) or Bradley it is not such a bad place.”