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PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Launch 2020 Campaign
February 7, 2020
February 7, 2020—The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team is excited to start its 2020 MotoGP World Championship campaign, with riders Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo unveiling their 2020 Yamaha YZR-M1 at the team’s home, Sepang International Circuit, on the eve of the official pre-season test at the world-renowned venue.
Franco and Fabio were joined by Team Principal and Sepang International Circuit CEO, Razlan Razali, Team Director Johan Stigefelt and Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg as well as Khairul Hisham Hj Mazlan, Head of Brand Management, Group Strategic Communications, PETRONAS.
After a stellar rookie season in 2019, the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team is eager to build on its foundations as the first-ever Malaysian team in MotoGP. Last year saw the team become Top Independent Team, finishing fourth in the overall team standings, with rider Fabio Quartararo taking the Rookie of the Year title and Top Independent Rider honours.
2018 Rookie of the Year Franco Morbidelli and 2019 Rookie of the Year Fabio Quartararo both enter their second season with the squad, eager to deliver even stronger results than those seen last year. The MotoGP team has continuity of personnel in support of the riders.
Featuring an updated look with the latest PETRONAS branding, the team’s Yamaha YZR-M1 will be in Factory-spec for Fabio—who is set to join the factory Yamaha team in 2021—and an A-spec for Franco for the season ahead.
2020 also marks the second year of PETRONAS as the team’s title partner. The impressive results achieved by the team last season are a testament to the Malaysian energy company’s Fluid Technology Solutions that have powered the bikes and riders to six pole positions and seven podiums in its rookie year.
Razlan Razali - Team Principal
“We are proud to represent Malaysia and PETRONAS on the world stage for a second season as the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team. We are looking forward to the season ahead and eager to give Franco and Fabio the best opportunity to build on their 2019 performance. We are fortunate to enjoy strong support from PETRONAS and Yamaha, who share our philosophy and are invaluable to our aspirations. In MotoGP we set the bar high in 2019, so there is a lot of external pressure and motivation to repeat or improve this level of performance. We have targeted improvement in every area of the team, but we are mindful that the element we don’t have control over is our rivals and how much progress they have made over the off-season. We’re eager to see everyone out on track over the forthcoming days at Sepang and we’re pushing hard to prepare ourselves in the best way possible for the season ahead.”
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
“In MotoGP I believe we really should be a force to be reckoned with this season. Fabio achieved seven podiums and six pole positions last year, which is a real benchmark. Franco was also looking for podiums and he showed he had the speed so he should be right in the mix too. In the off-season we’ve been busy with preparations and we have the benefit of all the lessons learnt in 2019. The team really worked well together over the course of last year, so this puts us in an excellent position to improve and develop in 2020.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
“The last twelve months flew by and it’s incredible to think that we’re looking at the start of our second season. There is a great vibe in the squad and we can’t wait to get racing. There are no changes in the MotoGP crew so we should work even better together. Last year was our first as a new team, so it always takes a little time for people to jell and understand each other. With this experience and our motivation, the team should be stronger for 2020 and we hope to show this on track over the days and weeks ahead.”
“My target is to improve last year's results and improve myself in every way possible. I’ve been concentrating on general conditioning and improving my fitness so that I can do everything at my best to face this season well-prepared. It’s been a good off-season and I’m rested and refreshed as well as being very eager to get back on the bike. In particular, looking at the races ahead, I want to improve my race pace. Last year I was fast in practice and close to the top riders on Friday and Saturday, but on race day it was different. I wasn’t able to match the top guys in the races. In 2020 I want to make this step up. The start of this is testing over the next three days so I can’t wait to get started.”
“Obviously, it’s been a positive off-season for me being able to get my future determined and this means I can focus completely on the twenty races ahead which is very beneficial. The support from PETRONAS and Yamaha is great and I’m looking forward to riding the Factory bike over the races ahead. After finishing 2019 with podiums and taking great results, I hope to be fighting in the top five again, targeting podiums and looking for wins. I don’t have any goals for the championship; my approach is race-by-race, trying to finish on the podium. The next step is to see the potential of the bike here at Sepang and this will give us a clear idea about what we can expect from the season ahead.”