Petronas Sepang Racing Team will cease to be at the end of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season, it was announced from Silverstone on Thursday evening.
Valentino Rossi’s current outfit, which runs in Moto3 and Moto2 under Petronas Sprinta Racing colours - featuring British riders Jake Dixon and John McPhee - and in MotoGP as Petronas Yamaha, confirmed it would conclude all activities both racing and non-racing at the end of the 2021 World Championship season.
Petronas SRT’s incumbent power couple Razlan Razali and Johan Stigefelt will continue into 2022 with ‘a new entity’ focussing their efforts solely on the premier class, with the team’s full structure and title partner to be announced ahead of the MisanoGP on September 16.
After five years of racing in the junior classes, three in the top-flight, the Petronas/Sepang International Circuit partnership has enjoyed a raft of success with 28 podiums and eight wins across the classes, including claiming the runner-up spot in the MotoGP title fight last season with Franky Morbidelli.
“We have experienced a remarkable voyage over the past years,” Team Principal Razlan Razali said.
“From a small start in 2015 there was a great step for us in 2018 when we secured an entry to the premier class of MotoGP and built a MotoGP squad from scratch. In 2019 we were on the grid and just four races into our rookie season we were on the front row.
“By the seventh race we were on the podium. In 2020 we secured the first race win for a satellite Yamaha MotoGP team in over 20 years and finished second in the overall team and rider championships. In 2021 we raced with the Greatest Of All Time rider, Valentino Rossi. This is an incredible story.
“The team will race its final race in Valencia and we thank all our crew, riders, fans and partners for their support. In particular, we thank Petronas, with whom none of this would have been possible. Together we pushed the Petronas brand and Malaysian expertise to the forefront of the grid and captured unprecedented brand exposure and coverage, exponentially surpassing all expectations.
“We also thank Sepang International Circuit for their vision and support of upcoming Malaysian talent over a long period. Our collective dream was to have a Malaysian rider competing for podiums in the MotoGP World Championship. Sadly, we were not able to achieve this in the short life of our squad, but we can reflect upon tremendous success by every other measure.
Our final season has not reached its conclusion yet and we continue to strive for the very best results possible across all three classes. Thank you all.”
“Thank you to Petronas for the opportunity given over the past three years and everything we have achieved together,” Team Director Johan Stigefelt continued.
“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.”