The rider market isn’t the only one currently in full swing behind the scenes at MotoGP Grands Prix. A few questions remain to shape the teams’ chessboard beyond the current season, starting with the solution being put in place to offset Suzuki’s departure and his two-man lineup.
There could be more changes among the five other brands involved in MotoGP, particularly as Aprilia intends to confirm its increase in power by partnering with a satellite team. Those who are already in the premier class will most certainly extend their existing association with their partner brand. This is initially the case with Tech3, which is linked to KTM until 2026; This also applies to Pramac and VR46, which will be united with Ducati until 2024, and for Gresini, which will apply until 2023 inclusive. As for the LCR team, Honda’s preferred partner, they are expected to formalize the renewal of their contract with HRC shortly.
For RNF, a structure that has taken SRT’s place this season following the withdrawal of Sepang and Petronas, the situation is much less obvious. Yamaha had agreed to extend its partnership with Razlan Razali, but only for one year, during which time the new company will demonstrate profitability. June was then set as the deadline for the situation assessment.
However, Razlan Razali did not wait for that deadline to explore other options, to the point where speculation suggests it is already in advanced negotiations with Aprilia. “The rumors started early this year and Suzuki’s decision only reinforces them,” the Malaysian boss noted on the subject in an interview with GPOne at Le Mans. And confess: “Obviously I have to look around as we only have a one year contract with Yamaha.
“The possibility of changing the manufacturer is there, but it is somewhat difficult to do so”, underlined Razlan Razali, who was aware that he would then lose the foundations laid with Yamaha since 2019. “I would like to have a relationship with Yamaha like Poncharal has had for over 20 years, or Cecchinello with Honda. This way you race with the manufacturer, win and lose together. As a team, we have to build our credibility, our business relationships, the support of the fans, and you can’t do that when you’re constantly changing manufacturers.”
The importance of the forged connections is all the greater as Razlan Razali still wants his team, strictly speaking, to be a junior team in order to find a momentum similar to that of the 2019 and 2020 seasons. “We have already proven that we can do it, our former drivers are in the official team. That’s the way, I don’t like that we’re defined as a satellite or an independent team. We are a junior team, we develop young drivers for the manufacturer”, he repeated.
The Malaysia boss, who is as willingly critical of Andrea Dovizioso as Valentino Rossi, actually sees these two experienced recruits as exceptions to his strategy. With the departure of Maverick Viñales moving the pawns on the chessboard, Yamaha saw Dovizioso as an opportunity to confront its development with the Italian rider’s rich experience, particularly with Ducati, while RNF secured a valuable Italian sponsor there. “We wouldn’t be here without WithU”, don’t forget about Razlan Razali.
“All I can say is that our relationship with Yamaha is good and I hope the same goes for them. I hope I showed them what we can do as a team, but in sport you sometimes win and sometimes you lose.” added the head of RNF at the time of this interview.
A decision by Barcelona?
“We only have one year contract with Yamaha, that’s true, but we have time to assess the situation. We have other options, which is good, but we’re waiting.” clarified Razlan Razali and then said to expect answers until the Catalan Grand Prix, scheduled for early June. “I think we’ll find out by Barcelona. Two weeks to go. If we were to change the constructor there would be a lot of other things to consider, like our involvement in the Asian Championship for example.”
Without confirming or denying the rumors that Noale is close to an agreement with RNF, Massimo Rivola also insisted on the need to reach an agreement quickly so that the doubling of the RS-GP workforce takes place under the best conditions.
“We are thinking about possibly providing two bikes [à une équipe satellite]”, stated the general manager of Aprilia Racing on the official MotoGP website on the sidelines of the French GP, “And I would say that if we find the right partner, we have to do it very quickly because we have to prepare properly and professionally. We’re developing as a team and also as a constructor, so we can’t lose performance.” in the development of the current factory team. We need to get bigger, so we need time to build everything up.”
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