The 800cc MotoGP era has been a terrible one for satellite teams. Since the drop in capacity at the start of the 2007 season, a satellite rider has not won a single race, and even podiums have been scored only very sparingly. The smaller capacity has placed a greater emphasis on technology; technology costs money, and money is a commodity that is (still) in short supply among the satellite squads.
The technology wars have had another deleterious effect on the satellite teams. As the technology of the MotoGP machines has become more important, the factories have taken away more and more control over the bikes. Each satellite MotoGP bike comes with at least one factory engineer, leaving the satellite pit crew with less and less to do. The mechanics are becoming exactly that, mechanics, and not allowed the heart of a modern MotoGP machine, the electronics.
But 2011 could be the year that we finally see a satellite rider take a win in the class. After four years of not winning a championship in the capacity class that came about because they asked for it, Honda have pulled out all of the stops for the class' final year. And although their efforts are aimed mainly at securing a title for Casey Stoner or Dani Pedrosa, the repercussions of their hard work should also pay off for the Honda satellite riders as well.