The French-based Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 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 Hervé 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 teammate 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 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.
As 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 crew 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. 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 Smith and the 2013 Moto2 World Champion, Pol Espargaro. The year heralded some great results, including 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 finishes, including a best result of 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 results in the latter part of the year 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 debut season in the premier class aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes. 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 teammate 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, Zarco remained with Monster Yamaha Tech3. At his side Hafizh Syahrin debuted in the MotoGP class, following Folger’s announcement not to feel able to contest the 2018 season. The Tech3 Team already made history with bringing the first Malaysian rider in the premier class and he proved to be the right choice with making progress throughout the season, scoring four top 10 positions and missing out on the Rookie of the Year trophy by just four points. Zarco meanwhile used his seconds Tech3 year to the best in starting three races from pole and scoring three podiums to clinch the best independent riders spot for the second time in a row.
For 2019 Tech3 decided to initiate a completely new era, partnering KTM following a 20 years long relation with Yamaha. Thereby, Syahrin and new team partner Miguel Oliveira rode a factory-spec KTM RC16 and formed the brand-new Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team. With a best result of eighth at Red Bull’s and KTM’s home round in Austria, the Portuguese showed a strong debut season, which was unfortunately cut short by injury.
In 2020 Oliveira was back in full fitness, continuing his work together with Red Bull KTM Tech3, plus was partnered by promising youngster Iker Lecuona, who stepped up to the premier class. Oliveira showed a stand-out year with two superb victories in the Grand Prix of Styria and at his home round in Portimao, Portugal, concluding the season in ninth of the overall standings. Lecuona likewise displayed some great performances, finishing inside the top 10 three times in his rookie campaign.
In 2021, the French team is set to continue its fruitful relationship with the Austrian manufacturer, competing as the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing Team with experienced double MotoGP winner Danilo Petrucci and keep up the process with the talented Spaniard Lecuona.