Razlan: Sponsors needed to get more local riders into world c’ship

PETALING JAYA: It was not the desired end for Malaysian motorsport at the international stage last year.

While pleased with various achievements by the team in the MotoGP world championship in a short span, former Petronas Sepang Racing Team (SRT) team principal Datuk Razlan Razali (pic) wished he had placed more riders at the highest level.

The Petronas SRT set-up was disbanded at the end of last year after Malaysian oil giant Petronas and subsequently Sepang International Circuit pulled out as their sponsors.

The Malaysian team started competing in the world championship in 2015 before entering a team to compete in the premier class in 2019.

“We grew from a small Moto3 team to a full fledged Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP team with awesome results,” said Razlan.

“We were close to achieving the impossible with a second overall placing in the MotoGP world championship in only our second year (via Italian Franco Morbidelli).

“We wanted to do more for Malaysian riders but unfortunately, the situation did not allow us to continue pushing them into the world championship this year.

“We hope there are parties who can take over this role as sponsorship is a critical factor for this sport to succeed,” said Razlan, who thanked everyone for the support, including their critics.

“The interest for MotoGP and the team is strong. MotoGP fans are emotional and vocal, and that is part of the game. We are loved when we do well and we are hated when we don’t or if there are no Malaysians. We can’t win the hearts of all fans but we certainly tried.”

The team have been rebranded as the RNF MotoGP Team with Razlan in charge this year. Italian Andrea Dovizioso and South African Darryn Binder are the riders signed up for 2022.