PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) have denied claims that they have sidelined local talents.
The Malaysian team came under fire on social media for not having any local rider in their line-up for the 2021 season and for terminating Moto3 rider Khairul Idham Pawi’s (pic) contract.
Petronas replaced him with South African Brad Binder who will ride alongside Scotsman John McPhee.
Khairul, who has now called it quits, is the only Malaysian to make the top of the podium in the world championship, having won races in Argentina and Germany in his debut Moto3 season in 2016.
In Moto2, Spaniard Xavi Vierge and Englishman Jake Dixon will remain while the premier class sees MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi on board to form an all-Italian line-up with Franco Morbidelli.
Team principal Datuk Razlan Razali said they are aware of the brickbats thrown at the team especially on the axing of Khairul.
“We put Khairul back in Moto3 from Moto2 after his finger injury as we wanted him to be competitive.
“Initially, we targeted the top 15 or at least one point in each race but he was injured and when he recovered, we gave him time to get positive results and for him to do his best. We instructed him to be in the top 20 but he failed to hit the target.
“On local talents, we will give opportunities to them if they can achieve good results in the FIM CEV Europe series.
“We have riders being groomed at the Sepang International Circuit but they are not ready for next year.
“We don’t want to put a local rider just for the sake of having representation. Netizens want us to feature Malaysians but when they failed, we are blamed.”