PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team is excited to start its third season in the MotoGP World Championship campaign with riders Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi showcasing their 2021 Yamaha YZR-M1 through a virtual launch yesterday.
Franco and Valentino were introduced by Team Principal, Razlan Razali, with further insight imparted by Team Director, Johan Stigefelt and Team Manager, Wilco Zeelenberg. Team owner, Sepang International Circuit and title Partner PETRONAS were also represented in the online 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.
The season unveil also included focus on PETRONAS Sprinta Racing with words from Moto2 riders Xavi Vierge and Jake Dixon as well as John McPhee and Darryn Binder for Moto3.
Razlan Razali, Team Principal:
We are proud to represent Malaysia and PETRONAS on the world stage in MotoGP for a third season as PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team.
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.
The team has enjoyed an incredible trajectory since entering the sport and we are thankful to PETRONAS and Yamaha for enabling this through their strong support and shared philosophy and aspirations.
2020 was an incredible year for us, but we are mindful that there are always areas where we can improve. We expect another tough fight on track over the season ahead and we will be pushing at every step to support Franco and Valentino and ensure they have all the tools at their disposal.
As a team, PETRONAS Sepang Racing Team also incorporates PETRONAS Sprinta Racing in Moto2 and Moto3 as we are proud to have supremely strong line-ups of riders and crew in these categories. For Xavi and Jake in Moto2 and John and Darryn in Moto3 we expect very exciting seasons ahead.
Johan Stigefelt, Team Director:
We look forward to the season ahead with pride in what we have achieved in previous years, but with the awareness that our opposition never sits still, so we must not either. We have achieved great results in MotoGP in our first two seasons but we certainly were not perfect. Over the off-season we have targeted improvements across the board. Looking at our riders across the categories, the potential is huge as we are strong in every class. Our targets are higher than before, but so is our potential. Our dream is to get a win in every category on the same weekend; it’s a lot to ask, but it’s not impossible!
Tan Sri Azman, Chairman of Sepang International Circuit:
We look back over the team’s short history and see there has been great success. We have showcased mechanics, management, partners and riders from Malaysia on the world stage. We are proud that this is a Malaysian team with strong and solid Malaysian management. We not only develop and focus on talent on track but talent in all elements of a big team like PETRONAS Sepang Racing Team. We look ahead to the 2021 season full of pride and we have high hopes and expectations. There is strength and depth in our team and everyone from Sepang International Circuit wishes the team well for another exciting but yet challenging season where our dream is to do the impossible by winning the world championship.
Datin Anita Azrina, Senior General Manager of Group Strategic Communications, PETRONAS:
Our title and technical partnership with SRT has significantly enhanced our R&D capabilities in the area of fluid technology solutions. We are proud to say our fluid formulations have been instrumental towards PSRT’s success in the world championship. We have seen PSRT clinch the 2019 and 2020 MotoGP Best Independent Team award, while Franco became the 2020 MotoGP Vice Champion. For a relatively new team in the sport, this achievement is nothing short of extraordinary, and we at PETRONAS are proud to be a part of this journey. Looking ahead, the expectations are riding high for the 2021 MotoGP season, but it gives me comfort to see the team approach the new season with the same vigour and passion. Similarly, at PETRONAS, we will continue to support the team through our Fluid Technology Solutions, and we can continue to push boundaries together.
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 [Valentino Rossi] and me. We have had a strong relationship for many years and we will learn a lot from each other. My personal target for 2021 is to get better; improve myself as a person, rider and athlete. I know it’s hard and difficult because last year we were quite fast and we made great races and achieved great results. Nevertheless, we will have to try to improve compared with 2020, so that’s my aim, try to be better year after year.
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 targets 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. 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.