Who knows if Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Racing, was happy with Marco Bezzecchi's success in the Argentine Grand Prix. Probably yes, since he has had his eye on the talent from Romagna for some time now.
On the other hand, however, his task - bringing VR46 to marry the Yamaha cause at the expiry of the contract with Ducati at the end of 2024 - is becoming increasingly difficult, because you don't change a winning team. And there is no doubt that in just two years the team set up by Valentino Rossi and managed by Uccio Salucci has quickly made its way in the difficult waters of the MotoGP.
In fact, it wasn’t such a sure thing that a team assembled in a few months with Pablo Nieto as team manager, together with Luca Brivio, Davide Munoz, Vale's last crew chief now alongside Luca Marini and Matteo Flamigni, long-time data technician of the Phenom also promoted to chief technician for Marco Bezzecchi, worked so well.
What can I say: the infamous prince and Aramco must now be kicking themselves…
Seriously, it's a big hot potato that Jarvis has in his hands, but also Dorna because there is no doubt that even though it is true that it is the teams who choose (and pay for) the winning bikes, MotoGP cannot really afford a championship with 8 Ducatis on the track and only 2 Yamahas.
Borgo Panigale's policy is paying off with a domination that was revealed with the hat-trick of Bezzecchi, Zarco, Alex Marquez at Rio Hondo and which is giving the increasingly difficult Japanese manufacturers a headache.
While the Iwata-based company salvaged something with a good performance by a resurgent Franco Morbidelli - 4th in both the Sprint Race and the Grand Prix - Honda is in even worse shape given that the Repsol-Honda team, the armed wing of HRC, was not able to field either of its riders, Marc Marquez and Joan Mir, both injured.
The descent into hell of the masters of the championship only up to a few years ago is continuing: with the withdrawal of Suzuki, the first together with Yamaha to sell Grand Prix motorcycles in the 70s and 80s, later joined by Honda with its three-cylinder 2-stroke RS 500, sooner or later will mark a downsizing of their presence in the world championship.
Suzuki even declared it: we are withdrawing to focus on electric. But while Ducati does so by supplying the V21L in the MotoE championship, its rivals of all time seem more concerned with the market than with their image as technology companies, painstakingly built over the years.
The whole Japanese system is in crisis: rapid decision-making, even in activating external suppliers - Ducati made use of Suter, while Honda's request for chassis help from Kalex has aroused criticism – and the bold interpretation of the regulations by the European manufacturers is paving the way. So the last taboos are falling, those which wanted Japanese companies reluctant to 'steal' engineers from their sisters: Kawauchi, ex Suzuki, was hired by HRC, but in Europe the exchange of engineers is the usual practice. And contrary to what happens in F.1 there is no 'gardening' period, so we also see all-important crew chiefs move from one team to another virtually immediately settling into their new structures.
Let's be clear: personally, this doesn't worry us: motorcycling has never been rich in terms of the simultaneous presence of several manufacturers. It has virtually always lived with Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda, not always present at the same time and with rhapsodic forays from Kawasaki. So the fact that today Ducati, Aprilia and KTM race at the same time would already be a guarantee of diversity.
In fact, much more than F1, motorcycle racing is linked to the riders, to the personalities, just as motor racing, despite having had great champions, has favoured the technological challenges between manufacturers and teams: Ferrari, McLaren, Williams in the past.
Fortunately, motorcycle racing does not suffer from 'Ferraritis', a serious disease that affects the largest group of fans of the top formula. While an F1 without the Red of Maranello is therefore unthinkable, the presence of the Red of Borgo Panigale, albeit not desirable, is only recent history.
There is only one point where MotoGP still has to make progress: in the teams. There is a lack of great team managers - it is incredible that Livio Suppo, ex Ducati, Honda and Suzuki is not returning - and the satellite teams also need to structure themselves more.
For this reason, as we said at the beginning, the VR46 Mooney team is extremely attractive: it already works like a company. And even if it has the experience of the two minor categories, the way is has been able to establish itself quickly in MotoGP is incredible. This is why we hazard a guess: if Yamaha wants it, it will have to give it the status of official team. Not of a satellite team with official bikes: just the representation of the Iwata brand in the world of racing competition. Mark our words.