MotoGP 2012: Yamaha Tech 3 Team Provides a Saving Grace

Dan GruchalaContributor IIOctober 4, 2012

ALCANIZ, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 30: Andrea Dovizioso of Italy and  Yamaha Tech 3 leads Cal Crutchlow of Great Britain and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 during the MotoGP race of the MotoGP of Spain  at Motorland Aragon Circuit on September 30, 2012 in Alcaniz, Spain.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

Before the season started, all of us who follow MotoGP knew that either Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo or Dani Pedrosa would probably win every race and whichever two didn't win would likely occupy the other spots on the podium.

Sure, there were those of us who held out hope that Ducati would fix their notoriously temperamental Desmosedici, giving Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden a legitimate chance to consistently fight for the podium. But alas, that was not to be, at least not yet.

Likewise, many of us hoped to see Ben Spies take the next step in his Grand Prix career and start stringing together victories but, due in large part to an incredibly cruel run of bad luck, he has yet to stand on a podium this year.

Still, even if Spies, Rossi and Hayden spend the majority of the season mired in the middle (or back) of the pack, Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa should provide entertaining racing at the front of it, right?

Not really.

Only two of the 14 races so far have seen the winner be in doubt until the last couple of corners: Sachsenring in Germany and Brno in the Czech Republic. The other 12 races have provided little in the way of drama, at least as it pertains to the winner.

Holding little hope of competing with the factory Yamaha and Honda teams, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso of the satellite Yamaha Tech 3 team have been battling each other to be the next one in line. One of them is seemingly always right behind the other. In fact, they have finished one behind the other in half of the races, separated by three-tenths of a second or less in three of them and providing some of the best racing of the season along the way.

Andrea Dovizioso came into the season with something to prove after being let go by the factory Repsol Honda team which already had Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa under contract. The competitive fire Honda's rejection ignited has helped him achieve six podium finishes so far this year, a result not many would have been bold enough to predict before the season started. His impressive performance has earned him Valentino Rossi's factory Ducati when Rossi departs for Yamaha next year.

Now in his second season in MotoGP, Cal Crutchlow looks comfortable on his prototype machine and is showing everyone just what he is capable of. In Brno he became the first British rider to take a podium position in the premier-class of MotoGP in 12 years. He crashed out of the race in the next round at Misano but then just missed out on another podium by a single tenth-of-a-second to (guess who?) Dovizioso in Aragon.

With Valentino Rossi going back to a competitive machine, Stefan Bradl having a year's premier-class experience under his belt and Moto2 phenom Mark Marquez taking Casey Stoner's spot on the Repsol Honda team, next season holds a lot of promise to be more competitive. Until then, If you get bored watching Jorge Lorenzo doing everything he can to avoid crashing as opposed to winning races just look down the track a bit until you see the black and green of a Tech 3 bike. It's sure to get engaged in some fun stuff sooner or later.