Petronas Yamaha MotoGP team principal Razlan Razali says that a December meeting defused tensions between team and manufacturer, paving the way for a contract proposal between the two parties for 2022 and beyond.

Despite 2020 being only its second season in the premier-class, Sepang was the most successful team in terms of race wins, with six victories divided equally between Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli.

Quartararo also led much of the world championship but like all the Factory-spec M1 riders the young Frenchman struggled in the closing rounds, eventually sinking to eighth overall.

By contrast, Morbidelli and the A-Spec bike rose to second, just 13 points behind Joan Mir, although the title had been decided in the Suzuki rider's favour with one round still to go.

The Factory Monster Yamaha team of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi took just one victory.

"We have addressed that situation during our end-of-year briefing with Yamaha, in December, where at the same time they have given us a proposal for the next five years," Razali said, confirming rumours the team had not been entirely happy with its relationship with Yamaha.

"We have addressed how we felt we were just a paying customer and not a partner. We felt that it's us that want to do more… We were very, very upset when we lost the [riders'] championship and Yamaha lost the constructors' in Valencia 1.

"It seemed that we were more upset than them.

"But we addressed all that and I'm pleased to know that they recognised that fact and their proposal beyond 2022 is for more [support] than happened in the last three years."

The Malaysian also revealed he sometimes had to 'bulldoze' Yamaha to do what his riders and team want, but is adamant such freedom is essential for an Independent outfit to achieve success.

"From what I gather last year, based on what my technical crew have told me and the likes of Wilco [Zeelenberg] and Johan [Stigefelt], the approach of what we do compared to the factory is different," Razali explained.

"As much as they have experienced people, we also experienced guys in the likes of Wilco and Ramon [Forcada, Franco Morbidelli's crew chief], whereby if we needed something to go our way, we would do it and we will bulldoze and do it.

"I think that's most important, that as an Independent team we are able to do that. In fact, there were one or two occasions that I had to interfere and also demand what we think we should do.

"Usually, we listen to what our riders want, the situation that they are in, how we can help and if they can't do that with Yamaha, then I will come in and try to help get what they want.

"I think for us, the difference between a Factory and Independent team is that, especially for us, if we don’t like something we will tell them and we will demand for whatever our riders want, as much as possible."

A specific area of tension was the speed of upgrades relative to the Official team, especially when Quartararo was battling for the world championship and Valentino Rossi's Factory bikes were parked in the pit garage after a Covid diagnosis.

"If there is an available upgrade, we want it quicker for our bikes. I think that's the most important thing. As much as last year they did provide us the upgrades but we noticed it could be quicker," Razali said.

"For example, we are aware that when Valentino was absent for a couple of races there were some crucial parts that we could have used and finally they let us use them.

"That leads to this - not to say displeasure - but we need to work better together as an Independent team with the factory.

"But other than that, we signed up in the beginning of last year with the machines that we have, it's just that in terms of upgrades, if it's viable, we want it quicker than wait longer.

"Other than that, Yamaha has been fantastic."

Indeed, having smoothed out a few bumps in their partnership, all the signs are that Yamaha and Sepang will soon form even deeper ties in a new five-year agreement.

"We have started discussing the extension with Yamaha since December last year," Razali said. "I already have the first draft proposal for the next five years from Yamaha.

"We hope to be able to complete everything by May or June this year. So it is progressing nicely.

"It's not just talking about the specification of the bikes, but more towards young riders.

"Finally, they recognise that we are a team that can develop riders from Moto2, Moto3, and all the way to MotoGP. So now Yamaha wants to get involved from the lower championships, even from the Asian championships.

"That's how deep the collaboration they want is beyond 2022.

"So it's not just talking about bikes, it's talking about riders, how they can have the first rights to the riders, all the way from outside the MotoGP championship all the way from Moto3 and Moto2.

"They really want to optimise the relationship that we have, to make sure that we develop the riders as well as possible so that the riders will remain in the Yamaha family.

"We hope that come May and June we can finalise this new collaboration with Yamaha - and can stop calling us Independent or Satellite team, I just hate those terms!" Razali smiled, but might he have been hinting at Petronas taking over the Factory Yamaha places in future?

Sepang were approached by Suzuki before signing with Yamaha for 2019-2021, but the preference of title sponsor Petronas to work with the bigger brand had been a deciding factor.

That situation remains unchanged and it seems unlikely Petronas will be tempted away from Yamaha unless something drastic happens.

"I would not deny that when other manufacturers want to come and talk to us, we listen, our door is always open to listen and look at all possibilities. But our decision on selecting a manufacturer also depends on what our title partner wants," Razali confirmed.

"So we are very much dictated by what Petronas, our title partner, wants to do from 2022 onwards, and they are a company that wants to work with biggest brand in terms of market positioning, branding performance, track record, and so on. So unless they tell us otherwise, we will follow their direction.

"Otherwise at the moment it's to continue working with Yamaha, the last two years have been fantastic, we could not do what we are achieving without the full support of Yamaha Motor Company."

The only conceivable complication at this stage would be the possibility of Valentino Rossi, Razali's new rider, bringing his VR46 team into MotoGP with Yamaha machinery next season.

"With regards to the potential new team by Valentino, I would not really want to comment on that," Razali said. "We are just focused on our plans, and the intention is to continue our collaboration with Yamaha, because we work very well. And I also understand the fact that Vale has been with Yamaha for the longest time, but I would not want to comment any further than that."

Nevertheless, Razali didn't rule out some form of potential partnership with VR46 should the situation arise.

"We will not close the doors on any opportunities, but the most important thing is the direction and strategy of Petronas. They will determine what we want to do moving forward."

Morbidelli is remaining with Petronas Yamaha on the A-Spec bike this season, alongside mentor Rossi, who has swapped places with Quartararo and keeps access to the Factory-Spec bike.