Marco Melandri reflects on satellite teams at the start of the MotoGP era: “We had a much inferior bike”

Marco Melandri reflects on satellite teams at the start of the MotoGP era: “We had a much inferior bike”
Marco Melandri reflects on satellite teams at the start of the MotoGP era: “We had a much inferior bike”

Marco Melandri was a notable rider during the early years of the MotoGP era. He made his debut in the premier class in 2003 with the official Yamaha team before moving to Tech3 the following year to make room for Valentino Rossi.

In an interview with Relevo, Melandri acknowledged the significant disparity between factory teams and satellite teams in that period, particularly regarding the quality of the bikes: ‘The official team is the point of reference, where you can work on the development and improvement of the bike. In my case, I didn’t even feel like I was in the factory team in 2003 because they were working for 2004. As for the satellite team… in the first race in South Africa, I had a bike with a “big bang” engine and another with a “screamer”. It wasn’t like today, where you have seven engines for the season. So, it was open: I received used engines from Valentino and Carlos [Checa], already with many kilometers. Yes, we had a much inferior bike. This is objective.

At that time, electronics were just making their entrance, and Melandri also noticed the differences in this area: ‘I’ll tell you more. Today you get a satellite Ducati, and it has its own electronic engineer. It wasn’t like that back then because it was the beginning of electronics. The telemetry technicians were trying to be engineers. There wasn’t the same level of training‘.

When asked if winning with a satellite team was more difficult at the time, the Italian confirmed: ‘Yes, especially in the first two years because everything was new. Only the official team could give you that advantage. Even in terms of software and electronics… however, the satellite team had to figure everything out from scratch. They just didn’t have the data’.

 
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