Petronas Sepang Racing Team chief Johan Stigefelt concedes after exceeding expectations this year the targets are higher and therefore the pressure will increase on its three teams across the Grand Prix classes in 2020.

The SRT-run Petronas Yamaha team stunned the MotoGP grid in its maiden year in the premier class by taking the top Independent riders’ and teams’ titles for 2019.

Both Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli impressed for the team, with the French rookie taking a starring role thanks to seven podium finishes and six pole positions on his way to the rookie title and fifth place in the overall riders’ world championship.

Having surpassed almost all of its own targets for 2019 in MotoGP, team director Stigefelt believes next season Petronas Yamaha most prove its credentials as a front-running team.

“Starting 2019 like we did, the pressure will be on now for 2020,” Stigefelt said. “This season was the honeymoon, but now we need to live up to our results and our image. We need to keep the team happy and smiling as we do it as well.

“There will be a bigger challenge, but we’re ready to meet it. We’ve set the bar high, 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.”

The former 250cc and 500cc rider also believes these expectations apply to its Moto2 and Moto3 squads despite going through contrasting fortunes in 2019.

The team’s Moto2 effort was blighted by a long-term injury for Khairul Idham Pawi, relying on four different stand-in riders across the campaign, as the team picked up just two finishes inside the points across 2019.

“2019 was a tough year in Moto2 and it’s nice to have an experienced rider like Xavi Vierge and someone who is fresh and hungry in Jake Dixon [for 2020],” Stigifelt said. “Jake can surprise and Xavi just needs fine-tuned to be at the top.”

The SRT-run squad enjoyed greater success in Moto3 this season with the standout moment of the team’s maiden win when John McPhee claimed victory at Le Mans on his way to fifth place in the riders’ standings and as a result the team director has hinted at a 2020 title attack.

“John’s first win for the team was a big relief for us because we’ve worked for five years in Moto3 and I pushed this year to have a top rider in the class. Signing John, I knew that he would be a good rider, and it only took five races to have pole position and a win.

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

For 2020, SRT and Gresini will be the only outfits with either teams or direct connections to squads in all three GP classes following Tech3’s withdrawal from Moto2.

While its MotoGP rider line-up remains unchanged, Dixon and Vierge form an all-new Moto2 line-up as the team expands to two riders in 2020 with Pawi stepping back to Moto3 alongside McPhee next year.



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