One could easily discern just from standing trackside or seeing a MotoGP race on TV in 2012 that the difference between the factory Yamaha M1 machines and the satellite M1s used by Tech 3 was negligible at best. Both Tech 3 riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, finished on the podium in 2012. Yamaha's factory rider Jorge Lorenzo won the MotoGP championship.
Tech 3 has enjoyed a much more competitive package from Yamaha in recent years, this after Colin Edwards confessed to the media that in 2010 he was using a chassis several seasons old. Edwards finished on the podium at the British GP in 2011, illustrating how competitive the Tech 3 package had become. Moreover, American Ben Spies won Rookie of the Year honors on the Tech 3 squad.
But will Tech 3 receive the same level of equipment in 2013 as they have the last two seasons?
Possibly the biggest factor in what could influence what level machine Tech 3 receives, many believe, is Valentino Rossi. Yamaha is clearly overjoyed to have Rossi back on the factory team and any suggestion that the former nine-time world champion--who will turn 34 in 2013--may not be able to regain his "alien" status is taken as a personal insult by his fans. If Rossi challenges for race wins, one can reasonably expect euphoria. Will Tech 3 be lost in that euphoria? Is it notable that when Tech 3 enjoyed some of its most competitive seasons--2011 and 2012--Rossi was not riding for Yamaha, or just a coincidence?
|"I really don't know what equipment our team will get this year. The championship is definitely going to be tougher," Crutchlow told the BBC.|
This potential situation, coming to head at this time, may impact Cal Crutchlow the most. If he continues his arc of challenging for the podium, then 2013 could see the punchy Brit rider potentially win a Grand Prix. But if Lorenzo and Rossi are riding a vastly superior M1 than the one that Tech Three receives, then Crutchlow's job becomes much more difficult.
"I really don't know what equipment our team will get this year. The championship is definitely going to be tougher," Crutchlow told the BBC.
One potential factor that could lend itself to a Tech 3 advantage is economy of scale. While Honda has the resources to build several different versions of their MotoGP bike, Ducati, for example, has decided that it's more cost-effective to outfit four riders with one spec of motorcycle and try to keep that situation static as long as possible. After a new motorcycle, or part, is engineered and drawn, making three more isn't as expensive as some might think.
What will Yamaha do?