The French-based Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team is one of the most experienced teams competing in the MotoGP world championship, with its proud history dating as far back as 1989.
Located in Provence in southern France, the team was formed by Herve Poncharal and colleagues who began their Grand Prix adventure by contesting in the 250cc World Championship with Dominique Sarron. In 1993, Tech3 ran the American rider John Kocinski in the 250cc series, before signing emerging French talent Olivier Jacque, two years later.
It was to be a partnership that elevated Tech3 and Jacque’s profile to a new level. The French rider won a dramatic 250cc title in the season finale against team-mate Shinya Nakano at Phillip Island in 2000 – with the Tech3 team thrilling fans worldwide with one of the closest finishes to a title fight ever to occur in history.
A year later in 2001, Tech3 further enhanced its growing reputation by joining the MotoGP class, starting a long and successful collaboration with Yamaha in the premier series.
Nakano scored Tech3’s first MotoGP podium in Germany in 2001. Since then, some of the biggest talents in racing have successfully spent time riding for Tech3, including Norick Abe, Carlos Checa, Alex Barros, Marco Melandri, Colin Edwards, Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, Johann Zarco, Jonas Folger and Hafizh Syahrin.
Now an integral part of Yamaha’s hugely successful MotoGP effort, Tech3 has enjoyed tremendous success in recent years. Edwards scored four top three finishes during his spell with Tech3. Whereas Spies enjoyed a fantastic rookie campaign in 2010, to claim a stunning debut MotoGP podium at Silverstone as well as a brilliant pole position and second place in his home race in Indianapolis. His performances saw him quickly earn a coveted seat in Yamaha’s Factory MotoGP squad for the 2011 World Championship campaign.
2012 was a superb year for Monster Yamaha Tech3 in the premier class. The team confirmed its status as the leading independent team in the coveted Team World Championship, having seen at least one rider on the podium in nearly 50% of the races in 2012. Andrea Dovizioso asserted himself as the team’s most successful rider ever, scoring six podium finishes in 2012. British rider Cal Crutchlow scored two podiums in his second season in the premier class, with both riders being constant top five challengers.
Crutchlow was joined at the team by the Tech3 Racing Team’s Moto2 rider Bradley Smith in 2013. Crutchlow produced two sensational pole positions, four podiums and he finished in 5th in the World Championship, as well as ending up as the leading satellite rider in the MotoGP class. Bradley Smith contested his successful rookie campaign with three top six results and 10th in the standings. Tech3 also finished 3rd in the team standings in the World Championship for the second year in a row.
The Tech3 Team continued it’s long term and successful partnership with Yamaha and Monster Energy in 2014 along with the exciting young line up of British rider Bradley Smith and the 2013 Moto2 World Champion, Pol Espargaro. The year heralded some great results, including Bradley Smith’s superb run to 3rd in Australia and Espargaro’s consistently good form which saw him finish the season as the top satellite rider as well as the rookie of the year in 6th place in the overall standings.
The line up remained unchanged for 2015 and Smith delivered a highly impressive run to 6th in the standings, which saw him clinch the title of the leading satellite rider, with an additional highlight of a superb 2nd place at Misano. Whilst, Espargaro rode to some notable results including three top six finishes and two 4th place qualifying placements on his way to 9th in the standings.
2016 saw the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team field the same line up for the third consecutive season. Espargaro stormed to seven top 6 results, including 4th at the Dutch GP on his way to 8th in the standings. Whereas Smith contested his sixth year with the team and equalled the longest serving Tech3 rider record. Yet he endured a challenging campaign but showed true grit after returning from a serious knee injury to seize four point scoring finishes in the latter part of 2016 despite not being at full race fitness. Together their performances saw the team finish as the top independent team in the standings for the fifth time in succession.
In 2017, Monster Yamaha Tech3 teamed up with the impressive French double Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco as well as the rapid intermediate class race winner Jonas Folger. The exciting and all-new rookie partnership determinedly produced impressive performances in their first debut seasons in the premier class aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes.
Johann Zarco climbed the podium three times, earning two titles, the best young rider in the category and the best independent rider, in 6th position overall. His team-mate Jonas Folger finished 2nd at his home Grand Prix in Germany, but was not able to contest in the last four races of the championship for health reasons. He still finished the season inside the top 10.
In 2018, Johann Zarco will remain with Monster Yamaha Tech3. At his side Hafizh Syahrin will debut in the MotoGP class, following Jonas Folger’s announcement not to feel able to ride the 2018 season. The Tech3 team already made history with bringing the first Malaysian rider in the premier class. Thanks to the two young and incredibly talented riders, this season promises a wealth of emotions.