We need to talk about the situation at Yamaha

Movistar Yamaha team is one of the most formidable MotoGP teams around, yet they’re being shown up by a surprising rival: their own satellite.

Movistar has long been one of the most competitive and potent teams out on the MotoGP track, just ask 9-time World Champion and longtime Movistar Yamaha resident Valentino Rossi. Yes, the unity of the ultramarine squad is a formidable one indeed, but they’re currently being shown up by their own satellite: Monster Energy’s Tech 3 Yamaha.

Tech 3 rider Jonas Folger stood atop the podium at the 2017 Sachsenring Grand Prix, pushing both Movistar Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi outside of a podium finish and masterfully denied both a chance to score a podium alongside their Honda Repsol rivals of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Folger’s stand-out performance harkens back to the manner in which his teammate, Johann Zarco, took the top of the field by storm at the beginning of the 2017 MotoGP season – giving the entirety of the pack a run for their money as he sat in first.

Unfortunately, just like Zarco, Folger’s time spent sitting on the pole was quickly wretched from his grasp by the ever-determined Marc Marquez, whose recent efforts have reminded all why he is the defending world champion. Still, despite Marquez 1st place finish, Folger stayed right on the tail of Marquez, doing his best to hold on.

With such incredible yet inconsistent performances, it may lead some to question whether the Tech 3 Yamaha riders truly have the potential to be fearsome contenders, or if they are merely capitalising on the chassis woes of the Movistar Yamaha team. Folger, for one, was quick to nip that line of thinking in the bud:

“I wanted to prove exactly what I did – that I am not only fast in practice and can get one or two good results in the rain,” said Folger.

I [proved] also I can be strong on such a weekend, where I have a lot pressure, at home, that I can stay calm and turn the pressure into something positive, that I can be a strong rider.”

I believe there is a lot more to come.” – Jonas Folger

While Folger’s determination is unquestionable, the verity of his words is less so. There are still many miles more to go, and the season is sure to be freshly set ablaze in the midst of its second half.

For now, the best that the team can do is chug along steadily on the development path which they are on. Should they be able to continue capitalising on the assets which they have, they may prove to Movistar Yamaha that drastic overhauls are not always the best way to go about fielding a MotoGP challenger.