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MotoGP Qatar test preview: Satellite team gossip and intrigue

Now the dust has settled over Tech3's self-removal from the Yamaha stable, the question of what happens next is being begged. Kittens have been had in some quarters over the prospect of Valentino Rossi calling it quits and running a VR46 MotoGP team next year. This probably won't happen as he still has the will to win if he can be given an M1 to do the job. Another title is a very long shot but wins at places like Mugello, Misano, Assen and the like could be possible.

What happens with the satellite Yamaha team until Rossi hangs it up is a more complex situation. Only Marc VDS, Avintia and Aspar don't have riders with factory contracts, so it would more than likely have to be one of those to step into the fray. But it would only be a short-term measure until VR46 move into the role.

Marc VDS have a long term view of life and would more than likely not take part in a one-year deal. Avintia look to be settled with Ducati while Aspar aren't averse to switching manufacturers, so they would be favourite to take it up. However, it is more likely there will be no other Yamaha team in 2019.


Ducati appear to be happy supplying three customer teams but boss Paolo Ciabatti is realist and believes someone will jump ship sooner rather than later, especially if Suzuki and Aprilia also throw their hats in the satellite ring. And Dorna really wants to have six manufacturers with four bikes each on the grid, so something, somewhere will have to give.

Suzuki have opened conversations with Marc VDS to run a second team in 2019 as team boss Davide Brivio admitted that not haivng a satellite effort hindered engine development last season. Two more bikes means two more sets of data which speeds up the process exponentially, if only to ditch the shit that doesn't work.

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