The French Tech 3 team is looking to reverse its fortunes in the Moto2 class by replacing Japanese Yuki Takahashi and Italian Raffaele de Rosa with Brit Bradley Smith and Frenchman Mike di Meglio for 2011.Takahashi and de Rosa have both been disappointing in the inaugural Moto2 season. Takahashi did give the team it’s lone win at Catalunya back in June, and also finished second two races later in the Czech Republic, but he’s scored points in only seven of 16 races. He currently sits tenth in class. De Rosa’s card is even more sparse. The Italian finished a season best fifth in today’s Portuguese Grand Prix, only the fourth time this season he’s scored points. The other three finishes were a pair of 15ths and a 13th. De Rosa is 27th in points going into next weekend’s Valencia season finale.Smith’s (Bancaja Aspar Aprilia) season has been more inspiring. His third place finish in today’s race was his fifth podium of a season in which he’s scored points in all but one race. He’ll finish the season fourth overall in the 125cc World Championship after finishing second in 2009. Smith, 19, also has eleven front row starting spots, with three poles, including this weekend. He’ll be the second Brit on the French team, joining Cal Crutchlow who’s replacing Ben Spies on the MotoGP squad.”I’m really excited and so pleased everything has been sorted out for next season,” Smith said. “It’s the next step in my career and it could not be with a better and more experienced team. I get the chance to ride the Tech 3 Moto2 bike after the Valencia Grand Prix on Monday and I can’t wait.”Of course I’m nervous about the next step, but the Tech 3 Team have such experience and success at World Championship level I know they will really help in the transition from 125 to Moto2. It’s a big step but I’m ready and I’m glad it’s all sorted. It’s been stressful but I always thought it would happen with Hervé Poncharal and Tech 3.”I’m too big for a 125 and so the time was right for the move and I will be starting from step one once again. First I will focus on the testing in Valencia, which I’m really excited about, and then starting a new season in a new class. It will be a massive challenge and I look forward to carrying on where I’ve left off. Moto2 is going to be a new experience and I certainly will have to learn to push to my limit in qualifying because it’s absolutely vital to be near the front. I’ll have to get used to a bit of rough and tumble but scrapping is something I’ve learnt to do in the 125 class.”Former 125cc World Champion Di Meglio, 22, is currently 20th in the Moto2 class racing for the Mapfre Aspar, Suter team. He finished a season best sixth in Australia two weeks ago, one of his five points-paying finishes.”It is a great honor for me to ride for a French team with such a long and successful history as Tech 3,” di Meglio said. “I was aware of Tech 3 and how important it has been for motorcycle racing in France while I was growing up and now finally getting the chance to ride for Hervé Poncharal, I can’t wait to get started. To be a French rider in a French team on a bike that was born in France is a special feeling. I feel like I have learned a lot in my first season in Moto2 and while I’d obviously liked better results, I am confident I can repay the faith that Tech 3 has shown in me. The Moto2 class is unbelievably competitive and only a few tenths per lap can be the difference between a good and a bad day. I have every confidence in my ability and in the Tech 3 Team to be running in the leading group in 2011. This team deserves to be challenging for wins and I’m convinced that Bradley and I can do that. It will be hard work but we are all ready for the challenge ahead.”
Tech 3 Starts Over in Moto2
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.