The Tech 3 Racing Team celebrated a famous milestone in its long history today when Yuki Takahashi stormed to a fantastic maiden Moto2 victory at a sun-drenched Catalunya circuit in Spain.
A fast start from the front row of the grid helped Takahashi avoid a multi-rider pile-up at the first corner of the 23-lap race and he was fourth at the end of lap one.
He quickly passed world championship leader Toni Elias on lap four and then cleverly hunted down Thomas Luthi and Julian Simon in the leading group to begin his victory challenge.
Gaining confidence with the improved turning performance from a new chassis only finished on Friday night by his dedicated Tech 3 Racing crew, Takahashi claimed third from Luthi on lap five.
And he wasted no time in claiming second from Simon a lap later to try and prevent Andrea Iannone from scorching to another runaway victory.
Takahashi produced a determined and concerted effort to close in on Iannone, but the key moment of the race came when it emerged the Italian had overtaken the Japanese rider under a yellow flag following the major incident at the first corner.
Iannone eventually was penalised with a ride through penalty having failed to give up the position gained, leaving Takahashi with a comfortable lead of close to three seconds on lap 16.
Takahashi then produced a masterclass of riding at maximum concentration despite the gruelling temperatures that peaked at 32 degrees to claim his first win since the G erman 250cc Grand Prix in 2006.
The historic win for Tech 3 Racing moved Takahashi into eighth place in the overall rankings.
Yuki Takahashi (1st – 52-points) says: “I am a little bit speechless right now because I expected to be on the podium but this win is like a dream for me. Luckily I got on the front row in qualifying yesterday and that meant I wasn’t involved in the big crash at the first corner.”
“I didn’t have a very good pace in the early laps while I gained some confidence with the front tyre, but once in my rhythm I could easily catch Luthi and Simon. My bike was working fantastic out of the last corner and it meant I could pass them both on the brakes at the first corner. I tried to follow Iannone but it was very difficult. He was riding very fast and I didn’t realise he was penalised for passing me under a yellow flag.”
“My board said P1 even though I was second and for a while it was a little confusing. But when I saw him pull into the pitlane I understood the situation because I’d seen the penalty board and his number but I wasn’t sure what was happening. Then it became incredibly hard to maintain concentration because Iannone was a good reference. I settled down though and could win and it was an amazing feeling.”
“I can’t thank my team at Tech 3 Racing enough. This team is like a family and everybody works incredibly hard. They have unbelievable passion for racing and for me, and this win feels a lot more special than before because it is with a bike we’ve all developed.”
Herve Poncharal (Team Manager) says: “What an incredible day and right now it is hard to explain the jubilation the team is feeling. We started this project from scratch and to see Yuki and our bike win a race in a world championship makes me immensely proud of the crew at Tech 3 Racing.”
“We’ve won before in the 250 class but this has an extra special taste because we have achieved this win with our own project. A lot of people have spent a lot of time working on that bike and I’m really proud of them today. Moto2 has been a big challenge for us but all the problems we’ve been through, we’ve stuck together as a team and today is an unforgettable reward for all our effort. The bike we built ourselves was today the best in the world and that is a great feeling.”
“I have to say a special thanks to Guy Coulon. He left Assen last weekend and went back to our workshop to modify the chassis and he seems to have done a really good job! I’m delighted for Yuki because he has worked hard to get the bike closer to th e front. He kept his concentration in difficult conditions and he showed what a talent he is and I’m sure this will give his confidence and self-belief a massive lift. Raffaele also came close to scoring his first points and I think he made a big step forward this weekend.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing him build on this performance in the next few races. But this is a historic day for Tech 3 Racing and we will cherish it for a very long time.”