PETALING JAYA: There will be a Malaysian presence in the premier class of the MotoGP world championship next year.
Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) team principal Datuk Razlan Razali wants to keep current Moto2 mechanic Habibtullah Mohd Fuad when the team takes on a new look next year.
Razlan said he felt it was important to continue working with people he was comfortable with, hence the decision to continue working with Habibtullah and also racing director Johan Stigefelt from Sweden.
Habibtullah is the only Malaysian professional mechanic in the entire world championship grid.
He is in charge of preparing Spaniard Moto2 rider Xavi Vierge’s bike along with the crew chief, data engineer and another mechanic.
Petronas has opted out as the title sponsor but the team have signed a new deal with MotoGP rights holders Dorna to extend their entry slot in the premier class for the next five years and will also continue their partnership with Yamaha.
However, their Moto2 and Moto3 outfits would shut down next year.
“My racing director Johan and I will be taking over the MotoGP team so I guess you can call it a Malaysia-Sweden team (from next year),” said Razlan.
“I brought Johan in when SIC confirmed the creation of their Moto3 team in 2014 and we have achieved a lot together.
“Habibtullah will continue with the team as a mechanic in MotoGP and that is my priority. I want to make sure that Malaysians continue to be involved in the team.”
The team are expected to announce the new title sponsor and line-up for next year during or after the Misano Grand Prix in Italy this weekend.
The team will rely on new riders as Valentino Rossi will retire after this season while fellow Italian Franco Morbidelli has decided to reunite with Frenchman Fabio Quartararo under the Yamaha team.