SEPANG: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing — Malaysia's first-ever team in MotoGP — have set the bar high for their first season in the premier class next year.
Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said the team’s riders Franco Morbidelli of Italy and Frenchman Fabio Quartararo will be expected to challenge for honours.
"For the first year we have to stabilise the team to ensure the riders will be able to compete well," said Razlan.
"In terms of performance, Quartararo will be looking to be top rookie (Rookie of the Year) and of course that is what we want.
"For Morbidelli, we want to see him become the Best Independent Rider."
Razlan was speaking after signing an agreement with Yamaha Motor Company at the Sepang Circuit today.
The two parties will work together from 2019-2021.
The signing was witnessed by Dorna chief executive officer Carmelo Ezpeleta, Yamaha MotoGP group leader Kouji Tsuya, Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and SIC chairman Tan Sri Azman Yahya.
Meanwhile, Yamaha Factory Racing managing director Lin Jarvis said two of their senior personnel will be moving to the new team which will be headed by current Petronas Sprinta Racing Moto2 and Moto3 boss Johan Stigefelt.
"We will give maximum assistance to the team, especially in this early stage. It is good that they have Stigefelt who is experienced in the Moto2 and Moto3 paddock," said Jarvis.
"It is a big step moving up to MotoGP so two of our staff will move to this team.
"Ramon Forcada, who is currently Maverick Vinales’ crew chief, will be assigned to Morbidelli while Wilco Zeelenberg will be team manager.
"With the experience of Stigefelt, Ramon and Zeelenberg and the full support of Yamaha, I am confident the team will do well."