Just a week after Valentino Rossi announced that he will be retiring the end of the season, another shocking news involving the Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team has emerged today.
According to a report published by Crash.net and a few other sources today, Petronas, the title sponsor of the Sepang Racing Team in the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes, will not be renewing their agreement for the 2022 season.
‘New independent entity’
It is said that the Sepang Racing Team will be continuing its journey in MotoGP under a new independent entity.
The report also said that SRT’s future will be made clear at the Silverstone round later this month, when its new satellite Yamaha contract should also be confirmed.
“SIC wishes to thank Petronas for the unwavering support during the partnership and a remarkable journey together,” said Sepang International Circuit (SIC) Chief Executive Officer Azhan Shafriman Hanif in a statement released regarding this issue.
“We respect Petronas’ decision, and mutually agreed that this partnership has accomplished its purpose and objectives.”
Fruitful two years
“We have enjoyed a meaningful partnership, with great achievements and memorable moments with the team. I believe this is not the end of our collaboration in motorsports as we continue our quest in nurturing Malaysia’s motorsports talents.”
“SIC is proud to have been involved in the formation and early development of the team that had surpassed expectations in its performance. We wish the team all the best in the next phase of its evolution under a new entity.”
Petronas’ Head of Strategic Communications, Datin Anita Azrina Abdul Aziz said, “We entered into this partnership with SIC to showcase our R&D capabilities, and we are proud that Petronas Fluid Technology Solutions have been instrumental towards establishing the team’s status as a championship contender.”
“Together, we have created some standout moments in the sport, serving as an indication that we have achieved what we set out to do and we feel it is the right time for us to conclude the partnership.”
Contract with Yamaha ending at the end of the season
“On behalf of Petronas, we would like to express our gratitude to SIC for their commitment towards ensuring the success of the partnership.”
While it was reported that the Sepang Racing Team has already confirmed grid places for the next five years with Dorna, MotoGP’s governing body, the team’s current contracts with Yamaha and Petronas will be expiring at the end of this year’s season.
That said, whether the team will be running with a different bike manufacturer remains unknown for now.
The Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team is all set to start its third season in the MotoGP World Championship campaign with riders Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi, who showcased their 2021 Yamaha YZR-M1 through a virtual launch.
After a stellar second season in 2020, where the team and rider Franco Morbidelli finished the year as vice champions in their respective championships, Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team is eager to continue its extraordinary story of success as the first-ever Malaysian team in MotoGP.
In 2019 the team became Top Independent Team, finishing fourth in the overall team standings, with rider Fabio Quartararo taking the Rookie of the Year title and Top Independent Rider.
Over the course of last year the team was on the top step of the podium six times as well as leading the standings for most of the year before finishing the season as the Top Independent Team – and second in the overall standings – with Franco Vice Champion as well as Top Independent Rider.
2021 sees Franco joined by Greatest Of All Time rider Valentino Rossi who will add an extra dimension of championship winning knowledge and potential to the squad. Featuring an updated look with the latest Petronas branding, the team’s Yamaha YZR-M1 will be in Factory-spec for Valentino and A-spec Plus for Franco.
2021 also marks the third year of Petronas as the team’s title partner. The impressive results achieved by the team over the past two seasons are a testament to the Malaysian energy company’s Fluid Technology Solutions that powered PYSRT to its six MotoGP wins in 2020.
“We are looking forward to the season ahead, eager to give Franco and Valentino the best opportunity. For Franco, it’s a fabulous opportunity to achieve even better things than his stellar season in 2020 and for Valentino we’re hoping a new team will give him the best opportunities to harness his talent and expertise,” said Razlan Razali, the Team Principal.
“This will be my third year with the team and there are many things I like about Petronas Yamaha SRT. The 2021 YZR-M1 livery is similar to the last two years, but still changed; it’s the same but different so I like it. What is different from last years is my teammate; I expect and hope it will be a great season for Vale and me,” said Franco Morbidelli.
Valentino Rossi on the other hand, said, “I’m very proud to be part of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team. It’s a new challenge for me. This is a very young team, but in the last two years they have already been really competitive. I’m happy to see my new bike for this year and I really like the colours of the livery, leathers, helmet, etc. It looks awesome. My target for 2021 is to be competitive, fight to win races, fight to achieve podiums and also fight for a good position in the World Championship standings at the end of the season.”
Rossi is “ready to start”
“We are all very focused on our targets to make the best we can. I think that with Franco we are a very interesting couple of riders as we know each other really well. All the whole team has a lot of motivation and I will give my maximum to achieve together the best possible result at the end of the calendar. We are ready to start.”