Tech 3 to build MotoGP chassis

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Cal Crutchlow’s Tech 3 MotoGP squad will design and build a chassis for a new 1000cc MotoGP bike that could be raced as early as 2013.

The French-based squad will commence work on developing its own 1000cc project as part of a master plan by MotoGP bosses to get all current satellite teams to instigate a drastic change in their racing strategy.

MotoGP chief Carmelo Ezpeleta’s vision for the future is for teams like Tech 3 to develop their own 1000cc machines at a cheaper cost rather than paying factories exorbitant fees to lease full prototypes.

The Spaniard wants to make MotoGP a more financially viable proposition for the existing independent teams, who are finding it harder in the current economic climate to continue leasing super expensive factory bikes.

Ezpeleta’s blueprint for the future would see the likes of Tech 3, LCR Honda and Gresini Honda completely sever ties with the major factories to design, develop and race their own bikes based on highly-tuned production engines using prototype chassis.

Despite signing a new two-year deal with Yamaha to lease 1000cc prototype YZR-M1 bikes until the end of 2013, Tech 3 has already committed to developing its own project for the future.

Team boss Herve Poncharal said Guy Coulon and Nico Goyon, who designed the Tech 3 Mistral 610 Moto2 machine, which Bradley Smith has raced to three podiums in 2011, will design the 1000cc chassis.

The bike should be ready for track testing by early summer next year and Poncharal told MCN: “We will start working on a project but that won’t be on track until 2013 at the earliest. This is a completely different programme and we have a contract with Yamaha until the end of 2013, so this is something that is not going to be mixed.

“During 2012 we are going to build a bike and in late spring or early summer we will be on track and testing. As Tech 3 we will only take care of the two M1s we will have off Yamaha in 2012 and 2013, but if the bike is showing good potential during 2012 tests then why not put it on track and let it be run by somebody else.”

Even if Tech 3 doesn’t continue to lease bikes off Yamaha beyond 2013, Poncharal doesn’t want to cut links to the Japanese factory after a long and successful relationship spanning more than a decade.

Poncharal plans to use a highly-tuned R1 engine and he has outlined his plans to Yamaha management during meetings over the past weeks.

“We would use an R1 engine, so I explained my idea to Yamaha and see what kind of support we could get. If we can have an engine that is close to the spec they were using in World Superbikes then I think that bike would be competitive,“ added Poncharal.

Tech 3 will field Crutchlow and Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso in 2012.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt