Petronas teams ready to face high expectations next season

Following a successful year of racing in MotoGP and Moto3, Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing’s Johan Stigefelt is aware of the high expectations they have to live up to next season.

With a revised rider lineup for Petronas Sprinta Racing’s Moto2 and Moto3 teams, the Malaysian outfit is now expected to challenge for podiums across all three divisions in the world championships.

Petronas Sprinta will run two riders instead of one in Moto2 next season with Spaniard Xavi Vierge and Englishman Jake Dixon while Khairul Idham Pawi has moved back down to Moto3 and will race alongside Scotsman John McPhee next year.

SRT’s lineup in MotoGP next year remains the same with Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli both having a year left on their contracts.

Stigefelt, who oversees all three divisions as team director, is keen on continuing their momentum across the board.

“(After) starting 2019 like we did, the pressure will be on (us) now for 2020. This season was the honeymoon, but now we need to live up to our results and our image,” said Stigefelt.

“We also need to keep the team happy and smiling as we do it. There will be a bigger challenge, but we’re ready to meet it.

“We’ve set the bar high (already), but the target will be to raise it even higher. Everyone in the team is competitive and wants to do better – no one is happy until we’re performing at our expectations.

“We had a tough year in Moto2 this year and it’s nice to have an experienced rider like Xavi and someone who is fresh and hungry in Jake.

“Jake can surprise and Xavi just needs fine-tuning to be at the top. In Moto3, we’ve set the bar high with John and we know what we need to work on to be at the front every weekend.

“With Khairul coming back to Moto3, it will also be a challenge but he know the class and the bike and he has had success there in the past. I am looking forward to seeing him and John working together throughout the year.”

McPhee delivered Petronas Sprinta’s first win in Moto3 at Le Mans in May.

Quartararo grabbed headlines worldwide as he racked up seven pole positions and six podium finishes en route to the MotoGP Rookie of the Year and Top Independent Rider titles this year.

Khairul spent much of this season on the sidelines in Moto2 after injuring his hand in a crash at Jerez in May which required multiple surgeries to correct.

He, however, showed progress in Moto3 during the recent test at Jerez last month where he was placed fourth on the opening day. Khairul had won two races on his debut season in Moto3 in 2016.

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