PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) want to hold on to rising French star Fabio Quartararo (pic) for another year even if he does not ride a single race for them in the 2020 MotoGP season.
The first six races have been postponed indefinitely and, with MotoGP organisers Dorna unable to come out with a revised calendar because of the worsening Covid-19 outbreak, the whole season may be cancelled.
The Malaysian-owned team are targeting a MotoGP title fight with Quartararo this season in what should be the Frenchman’s final year before stepping up to the official Yamaha team in 2021.
Quartararo is one of only four riders who have so far signed for 2021 alongside Spaniards Maverick Vinales (Monster Yamaha), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Tito Rabat (Avintia Ducati).
SRT team principal Datuk Razlan Razali said they would bring up with Dorna the prospect of letting Quartararo remain with the team for a further year should the worst case scenario occurs.
“We need to discuss what happens if the races don’t happen this year. We will request that it be declared null and void this year and then continue with the same arrangement for 2021.
“We will fight for Fabio to be with us in his final year (before joining the factory Yamaha team).
“We had been really looking forward to this year after what he achieved last year. We got him the full spec factory bike like (former champion Valentino) Rossi and Vinales.
“Fabio did really well in pre-season testing recently, so we know he can fight for the championship. In fact, the target is for him is to come in at least second, with a couple of wins.
The 20-year-old had a stunning rookie season last year, taking seven podiums and six pole starts en route to finishing fifth in the championship.