PSRT to bid adieu at the end of 2021
But a new beginning in store for 2022
Launched with much fanfare in 2019, the Petronas Sepang Racing Team has now come to a somewhat inglorious end. The team, which is represented in Moto3 and Moto2 by Petronas Sprinta Racing and in MotoGP by Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team has confirmed it will conclude all activities both racing and non-racing at the end of the 2021 World Championship season.
Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) was the title sponsor of the team across all three categories along with the team’s owner, Sepang International Circuit. Petronas is the government owned national oil company of Malaysia and it is perhaps the pending arrival on the scene of Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, into the championship in 2022 that is seeing the Petronas money leave the grid. Aramco and Petronas have joint ventures in place across the petrochemical industry, share ownership of some major refining facilities, and are in major strategic alliances together.
Fabio Quartararo proved to be the sensation of the year when he joined the MotoGP ranks and the team in 2019, the young Frenchman earning the Rookie of the Year and Top Independent Rider then taking three wins in 2020 before moving up to the Factory Monster Energy Yamaha squad this season.
2020 saw Franco Morbidelli star for the team, the Italian was the top finishing Yamaha in MotoGP across the 2020 season and narrowly missed out on taking the World Championship outright that year.
This year though Morbidelli has been plagued by injury and Valentino Rossi, who joined the team in 2021, is languishing in 19th place so far in the World Championship.
Petronas Sepang Racing Team Principal Razlan Razali and Team Director Johan Stigefelt will continue in the MotoGP category from 2022 onwards with a new entity. This new entity and title partner will be announced at the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in Misano on September 16.
It is widely tipped that Italian multiutility brand WithU will be the major sponsor of the new look team that will arise from the ashes of Petronas SRT.
Andrea Dovizioso had been testing with Aprilia and was expected to perhaps race for Aprilia next season but of course that was before Maverick Vinales had a meltdown at Yamaha and jumped ship to Aprilia. Thus now Dovizioso is widely rumoured to be with the new team in 2022. Other gossip also links South Africa Darryn Binder to make the jump up to the MotoGP category with the new Razali and Stigefelt owned effort. This also, of course, depends if they can come up with the cash to truly make a viable entity in 2022.
Johan Stigefelt – Petronas SRT Director
“Thank you to Petronas for the opportunity given over the past three years and everything we have achieved together. I am sad we were not able to continue this project as we established a great team across all three categories of MotoGP in such a short time and our vision was for this to be a long term project. We have worked with incredible personnel, fantastic riders and enjoyed the support of great partners and wonderful fans and we offer our heartfelt gratitude to them all.
“Thank you also to Sepang International Circuit with whom the relationship goes back to 2015. Together we grew from a small two-rider Moto3 squad to one of the biggest teams to have ever existed in the MotoGP paddock. I am proud to have been part of this journey together and without Sepang International Circuit this would not have been possible.
“As a squad, we achieved our first win, in Moto3, at Le Mans with John McPhee in 2019 and we had already taken our first pole position in MotoGP at the Spanish GP with Fabio Quartararo in Jerez that same year. We enjoyed six MotoGP race wins between Fabio and Franco Morbidelli in 2020. We have fabulous memories of the last three years, but now we look to the rest of this season to end the year in the best way possible.
“In particular, I really want to thank everyone in the Moto2 and Moto3 squads who are not only colleagues but have become true friends over the past years. It is very hard for me to say goodbye to all these people especially as they have all been crucial contributors to our success and the structure we’ve built together over these years. I want to thank them all in particular.
“For the future we have a new and exciting project. We remain in the paddock in MotoGP with new shirts to wear. But more of that later; for now we have the remaining races of the 2021 season to race as hard as possible. Thank you all.“
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