Tech 3 KTM boss Herve Poncharal says he is in “heaven” following his outfits first ever premier class success in the Styrian Grand Prix after 19 years of trying.
Miguel Oliveira out-foxed the battling Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller to snatch victory at the final corner of the second Red Bull Ring contest of 2020, bagging KTM’s first ever home win in the process.
Tech 3 spent 18 seasons as the official Yamaha satellite team-scoring nine runners-up results across the period with the M1-before switching allegiance to become KTM’s sole satellite organisation for the ’19 campaign.
Notching up a just single top ten finish across the entirety of ’19-with Oliveira at the Austrian GP- the team has seen a significant upturn in form this year with the greatly improved RC16 machine, culminating in the Portuguese racer’s debut victory in his sophomore premier class season.
Poncharal said following the Styrian GP that previously he “didn’t think a MotoGP win would ever happen to us”, adding that he’d had thoughts of retiring just hours before after the squad’s Moto3 pilots had crashed themselves out of the lightweight contest while fighting for a podium position.
“I feel in heaven,” said a thrilled Poncharal.
“This is probably the happiest moment in my life, as I said before this is something I have fought for over the years I have been in this business, and I didn’t think a MotoGP win would ever happen to us.
“We won in 250cc, we won in Moto2 we’ve won in other classes but MotoGP I thought we’d never do it.
“I said this morning in Moto3 when our two riders collided when they were fighting for the podium I was done, so done and I said this is time for me to retire and to stop this job.
“Now today has turned out to be one of the best of my life, only racing can give you this emotion downs and also unbelievable highs.
“I had a lot of professionals that always know more than anyone else telling me it was the worst thing I had ever done (switching from Yamaha to KTM machinery), that KTM was never going to be in a position to win.
“I like challenges, and for me this challenge was one I wanted to take before leaving the paddock, and you cannot believe how hard everybody’s been working.
“The people in the factory have been extremely motivated, but to see this never give up attitude and involvement had been great and helps push you even further.”
Poncharal highlighted the work undertaken by the four KTM racers across the factory and Tech 3 teams-as well as superstar development rider Dani Pedrosa-as the main catalyst for the rapid development of the RC16 compared to last year, the Austrian bike having now won two of the last three MotoGP encounters.
“We have improved dramatically compared to last year thanks to the four riders, also because of Dani Pedrosa who has done an incredible job,” continued Poncharal.
“Now the championship is even more exciting because now nearly every manufacturer in MotoGP has the chance to win, so I am more than happy.
“When I saw the red flag last week it killed our race, so I was a bit upset with the red flag but Miguel who had a medium front for the second part of the race said it may be a bit on the limit so decided to go for a hard, which was the right choice.
“The start was also better and we pushed to the end, there is always something happening in Spielberg and this time it happened to our benefit, I’m a really happy man tonight.”