Confirming what had long been a suspicion in the Grand Prix paddock, the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is set to field a MotoGP team with Yamaha YZR-M1 machinery.
Signing a memorandum of understanding with the Yamaha Motor Company, the Sepang circuit will race for at least the next three seasons (2019, 2020, & 2021), filling the satellite team role once held by the Tech3 racing team.
Taking over the grid entries from the Angel Nieto Racing Team, the Sepang circuit has also announced that its team will take on Jorge “Aspar” Martinez as the team’s “Sporting Advisor” for the 2019 season.
With still only a thimble of information being released, we can expect more information to come to light at the next MotoGP round, which is the German GP on July 15th.
Rumors have been swelling about what this future team would look like, with a strong suggestion that Petronas would come onboard as the title sponsor.
Franco Morbidelli has also been linked as one of the riders for the new team, with Wilco Zeelenberg said to be marked as the Team Principal.
Widely linked to the Yamaha/SIC ride has also been Dani Pedrosa, whose fate has been in limbo ever since the Repsol Honda team gave the Spaniard the axe.
Announcing that he would hold a press conference at Sachsenring, Dani Pedrosa is finally ready to tell the MotoGP paddock whether he will retire or sign with another team.
Having now heard the news about Yamaha and the Sepang International Circuit, it seems likely that Pedrosa will announce his place within the satellite Yamaha squad, thus starting a new chapter in his career.
However, there are some who believe that Pedrosa will announce his retirement at the German round, ensuring his post-racing career stays true to HRC. As always, time will tell.
Source: Yamaha Motor Racing & Angel Nieto Racing Team