Xavi Vierge has been confirmed as leaving Marc VDS to spearhead a two-strong Petronas line-up in next year's Moto2 World Championship.

The triple Moto2 podium finisher is set to join Khairul Idham Pawi, who has missed much of this season due to a nasty finger injury.

There had been speculation the Malaysian might return to Moto3 next year while the likes of Johann Zarco, Alex Marquez, Hafizh Syahrin plus Pawi's replacements Mattia Pasini and Jonas Folger have all at some time been linked to the Petronas Moto2 seat - which offers the potential of promotion to the MotoGP team.

However, the Sepang squad are 'hoping' Pawi will be fit to take his place alongside Vierge. 

“For Petronas Sprinta Racing the signing of Xavi Vierge is an exciting development," said team principal Razlan Razali. " Firstly, he is a quick and well-proven rider who is capable of regular podium performances.

"Secondly, he will be one of two riders for us in Moto2 as we expand our squad. Petronas Sepang Racing Team will have two riders each in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP next year.

"We know it’s been a tough Moto2 season for us in 2019 and we’re hoping that Khairul Idham Pawi will be fully recovered and racing alongside Xavi next season.”

Vierge, currently team-mate to Moto2 title leader Alex Marquez, has taken three front-row starts this season, including a pole position in Argentina. However accidents, technical problems and injuries have left him only 14th in the world championship, with a best result of fifth.

Like Marc VDS, Petronas currently uses the Kalex chassis.

"Xavi has a lot of experience, and we think he will flourish within our set-up," explained team director Johan Stigefelt. "He’s the right rider to help us grow together in this category and will be the perfect team leader for our two-bike squad next year.

"This year has been a difficult season for us in Moto2, but with two bikes and a rider of Xavi’s calibre on one of them, we’re expecting better things from 2020.” 

An added incentive for Vierge will be the possibility of a Petronas Yamaha MotoGP seat in 2021, should either Franco Morbidelli or Fabio Quartararo move on at the end of their current contracts.

"I’m really happy and I can’t wait to get started with the project," Vierge said. "Petronas Sprinta Racing are amazing; they’re already fighting for wins in Moto3 and MotoGP and I hope I can add Moto2 to that list next year.

"The potential is really high, I know a lot of the crew, and I feel like they already believe that we can win together. I’m very thankful for everyone who helped make this opportunity happen and I can’t wait to get started.

"The first target will be to complete really strong winter tests so we can start in Qatar ready to compete for the top positions. The team have the right attitude and I know we can do well.”

Vierge's place alongside Marquez is set to be taken by Sam Lowes next season, while of the six Sepang seats only a Moto3 ride alongside John McPhee still remains available.

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