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KTM Tech3 boss 'happiest man alive' after brief retirement thoughts

Monday, 24 August 2020

The team recorded their first MotoGP™ victory.

Red Bull KTM Tech3 team manager Herve Poncharal went from contemplating retirement to being "the happiest man in the world" at the Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

KTM Tech3 team-mates Ayumu Sasaki and Deniz Oncu were both in contention for a podium in the Moto3 race at the Red Bull Ring but collided with just five laps remaining.

However, in the main event of the day, Miguel Oliveira put a smile back on Poncharal's face by overtaking Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaro and Pramac Racing's Jack Miller on the final corner to earn his and the team's first MotoGP™ victory in sensational fashion.

Poncharal said: "What an incredible day, incredible emotions! It is something like 40 years we've been in this business and we never won a MotoGP™ race.

"Honestly, I thought that was never going to happen and today our dream came true. Here in Austria, which is in front of our title sponsor Red Bull, in front of the KTM management, our manufacturer.

"To be honest, this morning, I was so down when I saw my two Moto3 riders, who collided, when they were on course for a podium and I thought maybe it's time for me to retire, because when you are deeply involved, I was really, really sad about that.

"And now I'm almost the happiest man in the world. Only racing can give you these up and down emotions.

"I would like to of course thank Red Bull, thank KTM, without who it would have been impossible. I would like also to dedicate this victory to Miguel, because he has been pushing a lot. Year one was not easy, he was injured the second half of the season.

"We've been fast since the beginning of this year, the bike improved, he improved, but we could never really show it due to some racing circumstances and I knew he could do it.

"Now we've done it. I'm very proud to see two KTM on the rostrum. Clearly, this is now one of the bikes to beat."

Oliveira's team-mate Iker Lecuona finished 10th and Poncharal is hoping to keep the momentum going at the next two races in Misano.

"I have been working with different manufacturers, but this one is more than special. They said they are ready to race and this is not only a slogan, but the reality," he said.

"There is such a big involvement, such a passion for racing and this is contagious, so let's celebrate tonight, let's hope there will be some other exciting days like today, but today I want to thank Miguel, Iker, who did a great race, too.

"I want to congratulate him as well, because it's also unbelievable, what he has done so far as a rookie. He is growing like I didn't expect.

"We go home to have a rest and fully motivated to do something great in Italy."