Cluzel Denies Tech 3 Deal Is Already Done

The arrival of the Moto2 class to replace the much lamented 250cc bikes has generated a great deal of excitement, both inside and outside the MotoGP paddock, and as the official announcement of the full list of entrants in Moto2 at the Estoril Grand Prix draws nears, that excitement is reaching a crescendo. Many projects have already been announced (which we will cover in a separate story later), and many names have been linked to the series, but little concrete has been announced.

Earlier this week we had what looked like the first announcement: Herve Poncharal of the Tech 3 Yamaha team has made no secret of his admiration for his countryman Jules Cluzel, his latest expression of interest coming during an interview with the motorsports website But even as smart an operator as Poncharal can overstep the mark sometimes, it seems. For after Poncharal told the official website that he had already signed Jules Cluzel, the young French rider has denied that there is anything official to announce.

In an interview with the French website Moto Caradisiac, Cluzel, who has impressed a lot of people with some outstanding results on a very privateer 250cc Aprilia LE, said that he hadn't signed anything yet. "I'm very honored by the interest that Herve and Tech 3 have shown in me. The comparison he made with Olivier Jacque was very flattering," the young French rider said. But Cluzel was keen to point out that he wasn't in a position to sign a new deal yet. "My contract with my current team Matteoni stipulates that they have an option on me for 2010," Cluzel told Moto Caradisiac, pointing out that he was still in discussions with the Matteoni team for 2010, based on the excellent results he has had with the team. As a result of their investment in him, he felt obliged to the team. "Morally, I am a person who likes to do thing the correct way, the legal way," he said. "So we shall try to clarify the situation together, then we shall see what happens. I have a lot of respect for Matteoni," Cluzel added.

Given the superb results the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team has been scoring in MotoGP - made all the more remarkable seeing that just a few years ago, the team was running at the back of the grid on Dunlop tires - the Tech 3 team are sure to be one of the very best Moto2 teams from the outset of the series. As a consequence, Cluzel would be foolish to turn the team down outright. However, the fact that a young man would respect both his legal and moral obligations to his existing team becomes him, and deserves our appreciation. Even in the dog-eat-dog world of motorcycle racing, there is still room for a man of honor.

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I read the interview when it came out and I just watched the tape snippet on I fail to see where Poncheral actually says that he signed Cluzel. "deep in discussions" and "95% sure" don't mean that Tech 3 had his name on the dotted line. got it wrong by claiming that the inspector was confirmed, plain and simple.

I can see why they said the deal is done on Poncharal says "One of the riders will certainly be Jules Cluzel." That's pretty easy to interpret as Poncharal having signed Cluzel.

Had to watch the video twice to understand exactly what he said about Cluzel, but I agree with yooperbikemike that he did not say that he signed Cluzel. It's rare for to jump to conclusions like that and say someone's signed without an official announcement, but apparently they do that on occasion.
A German website published a short interview with Herve after the Misano race where he explained the situation a little more and probably less confusing, saying that they are currently looking for the main sponsors for Moto2, so that they can chose their riders in agreement with them, but if they don't finalize any sponsor deal in the next two to three weeks, he'll go and sign one rider right away and this rider *might* be Jules Cluzel.
The interview was published Tuesday.


...Cluzel would already have a signed contract to ride for Pramac for 2011 and be planning his blackmail scheme against Poncheral.

Good for him being honorable (or at least diplomatic).

A comment, speaking as a minor sponsor of Jules and his team Matteoni for the past 3 years....

Team Matteoni (aka Andy Racing) has been in the business for about 13 years. Their first ever podium was Jules at Qatar, with a 2nd (previous best result: 10th). Standing in park ferme after this incredible event was like they had just won the world championship. He has gone on to lead 2 races (crashing in both alas) and taking a 6th and 2 8ths; proving both he and the team have matured to be genuinely competitive. They have shown faith in each other, and deserve to take a crack together at this in Moto2.

Watching Matteoni struggle at the nether end of the pits for the past three years, struggling with cash and hand-me-down parts, for them to have achieved even this level of success is a bit of a Cinderella story, and why - for me - racing at this end of the paddock is still where the 'real' experience is. To see them at work in the pits, rebuilding a bike in <20 mins, see

Vive Jules!

Gordon Howell
Managing Director, Pole Position Travel.

Thanks for the perspective. Even as a fan, watching Cluzel at Qatar was exhilirating. Seeing him come back and challenge for the lead in later races was the sign that this was more than just a fluke and that rider and team had found something special - something that could put an LE far further up in the field than it really should be.

I do hope that whatever decision is made, that it allows all parties to continue on the heels of the succes so far.

I must say, it is also good to hear from a sponsor that actually cares about more than just the sticker on the side of the bike.