KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian motorsports created another piece of history yesterday after Petronas Yamaha SRT (Sepang Racing Team) confirmed their participation in all three categories of Grand Prix motorcycle racing – MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.
Petronas Yamaha SRT is the first South-East Asian team to compete in MotoGP and the team unveiled the 2019 liveries and machines in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
For their maiden MotoGP campaign, Petronas Yamaha SRT have an exciting line-up in 2018 Rookie of the Year Franco Morbidelli of Italy and 2019 Frenchman rookie Fabio Quartararo.
Petronas president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said the unveiling marks a significant moment for Petronas and the Malaysia motorsports industry.
“Petronas’ involvement in motorsports has spanned decades through our entry in Formula 1 and MotoGP,” said Wan Zulkiflee.
“This partnership marks our presence in the whole spectrum of motorcycle racing from the grassroots level in Cub Prix right up to the international races of MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.
“It further enhances our global branding and technology partnership aspirations.”
Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said it was still a surreal moment to actually witness the launch of the new independent team.
“The move to set up a team came about only in May last year when I heard rumours of a MotoGP team facing financial issues. I asked Dorna whether it was possible for the two slots to be made available to us.
“We also had to tick all the right boxes to get Petronas to agree to come on board. They approved it a month later and the rest is history,” said Razlan.
“It has been an unbelievable journey as it was only in 2015 when we started our own Moto3 team.
“We only wanted to become a MotoGP team owner only in 2020 but then the opportunity presented itself.
“For this MotoGP team, we might be new but we have an ambitious target to finish in the top six,” said Razlan.
Joining the two MotoGP stars on stage to unveil their 2019 liveries were the Moto2 and Moto3 Petronas Sprinta Racing riders: Malaysia’s Khairul Idham Pawi, Japan’s Ayumu Sasaki and Scotsman John McPhee.
Morbidelli and Quartararo will be competing in the official pre-season MotoGP testing at Sepang from Feb 6-8.