Yamaha MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis says no decision has yet been made on what bikes Tech 3 will use next season, but that its policy “will remain the same” despite this year’s poor results.
The struggles of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales on the 2017-spec Yamaha M1, especially in low-grip conditions, have prompted speculation that Johann Zarco could be given a current-spec machine in 2018.
Rossi said he believed that Zarco should turn down this year’s Yamaha and stick to the 2016 bike he has used to beat both factory riders on five occasions this year.
Yamaha’s usual policy is to hand over to Tech 3 its current bikes at the end of each season, but Jarvis admitted on Friday that no decision has been made on exactly what material will be provided.
However, he all but ruled out giving Zarco and teammate Jonas Folger total parity with the factory riders.
"It's a good question, but today I'm not sure which specification we will provide to them,” said Jarvis. “Our policy will basically remain the same.
“If you look at the level of performance and competitiveness of the Tech 3 bikes and the factory bikes, they are very, very close. I think our satellite bikes are possibly the highest level of all manufacturers."
"The important thing for us is to decide which specification we will use in general next year. Typically we will provide Tech 3 the former year’s bike.
“We had many development specs throughout this year and we need to decide which will be our base specification. And Tech 3 will benefit from a very, very high level of bike.
“But it doesn't mean it will be an equal spec with Maverick and Valentino."
Poncharal: "Yamaha never disappoints me"
Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal admitted he was in the dark about what specification of bike Zarco and Jonas Folger are likely to be riding next season, saying a final decision may not be made until early next year.
He also confirmed that Zarco would be its sole focus in Valencia post-season testing, with Folger still on the sidelines with what has now been diagnosed as Gilbert’s syndrome.
“Maybe you will be shocked to hear that [I don’t know what bikes Tech 3 will use in 2018], but I don't care,” he told Motorsport.com.
“Some people say that the support I have is not good enough. But it is good enough to do what we had to do. Johann won best independent rider against [Cal] Crutchlow and [Danilo] Petrucci on 2017-spec [machines].
"I always trust Yamaha and they never disappoint me. They give me what we need to do our mission.
“We will do the Valencia test with Johann and work together with them. We will do the test in Sepang with Johann and hopefully with Jonas.
"Then we will see what we will receive at Sepang at the end of January. This is their [Yamaha's] decision.”