MotoGP 2020: Petronas Sepang Racing principal Razlan says, “it’s all about your performance.”

MotoGP 2020: Petronas Sepang Racing principal Razlan says,

Khairul Idham Pawi, Moto3, Spanish MotoGP 2020

Racing is a harsh mistress, as Malaysian racer Khairul Idham Pawi, a.k.a. “Super KIP” found out after receiving marching orders from Petronas Sprinta Racing (PSR) in the Moto 3 category of the MotoGP World Championship. An injury suffered during qualifying for the Czech Republic Grand Prix resulted in Khairul needing surgery and amputation of a finger.

With Super KIP serving out his contract term of four more races for PSR, his place has been taken by South African Darryn Binder, with one Moto 3 victory and a second place finish to his name. Binder, nicknamed “Divebomb Darryn” for his aggressive riding, is currently riding for CIP Green Power before moving to PSR in 2021, riding with current PSR rider John McPhee.

But right now, Khairul is left without a ride for next year’s race calendar and questions were being asked about the team structure and “what is a Malaysian racing team without Malaysian riders?” Sepang International Circuit (SIC) organised a video press conference with Datuk Razlan Razali, team principal of Petronas Sprinta Racing as well as Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) and PSR in Moto 2, to shed some light on the matter.

Khairul Idham Pawi, Moto3, Spanish MotoGP 2020

“It’s all about performance,” said Razlan in his opening comments. “We absorbed Khairul in our Moto 2 team in the beginning (2019) with the expectation he would fight for his target which was to at least be in the points,” Razlan said.

“After his unfortunate injury in Jerez last year where he hurt his finger, a decision was made to demote him to Moto 3, where he had previously won a race in 2016,” continued Razlan. “The target we set for Khairul was in the top 15, in the points,” said Razlan.”

Super KIP was expected to improve his performance after surgery at the Misano round with Khairul’s race target adjusted for him to show in the top 20, elaborated Razlan. “He finished among the back markers and again, possibly because of his finger injury, we made an exception heading into Catalunya, one of his favourite tracks,” the PSR team principal said.

Unfortunately, Khairul’s poor performance continued into the Le Mans and Aragon rounds and despite full support from the team, there was no improvement. “At the point we were perplexed at Khairul’s performance, it’s not like we were asking for a podium or even the top 15, we only wanted a top 20. Finally, all we said to Khairul was “don’t come last,”” said Razlan.

“It is difficult for us with our objective of being a professional team, a competitive team and with six riders, we have one Malaysian rider who could not improve,” Razlan added. “I am the first person to support Malaysian riders with potential to come into our team but we had to make the difficult decision to let him him (Khairul) go,” he said.

“If a Malaysian rider does not perform, does not get results, I will be the one to make the decision to not renew his contract,” said Razlan. As for Khairul’s future racing career, Razlan expressed the hope Super KIP would use the opportunity to continue working hard for the remaining four races in the season to improve his chances for the future.

Khairul Idham Pawi, Moto3, Spanish MotoGP 2020

Talking about future opportunities for Malaysian riders in 2022 and beyond, Razlan emphasised the fact that PSR is a Malaysian team, with six out of 56 team members Malaysian and 22 other nationalities. “There are two aspects to this, one, we have a Malaysian team that is run by Malaysians, and two, is to develop Malaysian talent. The infrastructure is there for Malaysian talent,” Razlan said.

But infrastructure and having a Malaysian racer is not the only part of the equation as Razlan explained. “We want to make sure that the Malaysian talent has the potential, that is competitive in every sense of a rider. So, with that, together with SIC we are developing a couple of riders in the FIM CEV junior championship the likes of Adam Norrodin and Syariffudin Azman,” he said.

“Unfortunately, they are not ready. Those that are in CEV are not ready to be brought up into the world championship and that person is Syariffudin,” said Razlan. “I do not want to bring a guy right now for the sake of filling in the gap that we have no Malaysian (riders),” he continued.

Khairul Idham Pawi, Moto3, Aragon MotoGP, 16 October 2020

Touching on the subject of Malaysian race fans, many of whom are commenting on Khairul’s dismissal and opportunities for Malaysian riders, Razlan said they are emotional and passionate and accepts that PSR will receive a lot of criticism. “We cannot please everybody but we ask for them to be patient, we are developing young riders but we do not want to put a boy who is not ready under undue pressure,” said Razlan.

“If we put the boy in the Moto 3 world championship, yes, the fans will say well done Sepang Racing Team, fantastic.” “But if the boy doesn’t do well, the same fans will criticise this boy,” Razlan said.

Razlan says such comments will have the effect of demoralising and demotivating him, not just from the fans but also from his own performance because he is not ready. “We have experienced this before with Fahmi, with Adam, with KIP because our boys, they are super talented. In terms of talent they are comparable to the Europeans,” he said.

Khairul Idham Pawi, Moto3, Catalunya MotoGP. 24 September 2020

“But what they are lacking of is in terms of mental strength. The moment the slightest issue that people criticise them or they don’t do well their mental strength just drops and their performance drops,” Razlan explained. A team programme of communication and mental strength training is there to help Malaysian riders adapt to the high level of competition in Moto 3.

Razlan did express some confusion as to why Khairul did not avail himself to every possible avenue of help within the team, aside from his crew chief. “We have channels of communication within the team for crew chiefs to talk to one another, to share data and setups,” Razlan said.

“If a rider is in a difficult situation I would expect them to spend more time analysing data, analysing videos and that is something I don’t see with our Malaysian riders,” said Razlan. “With the European riders, they spend a lot of time analysing data and don’t forget we also have a riders’ coach, an ex-rider, he is a rider coach for all our riders that need him,” added Razlan.

Khairul Idham Pawi, Moto3, Spanish MotoGP 2020

“A rider can easily go to him and consult and seek advice on what he needs to do on the track. What I am saying is if a rider is on a situation where he needs to do better what I expect is for him to spend more time talking to their crew chief, our riders coach or other riders in other categories,” Razlan said.

As team principal, Razlan expects that every rider and every team member must help each other irrespective of category, as a direct instruction from him. “And we have seen that. Why I think Jake Dixon – riding in Moto 2 – does very well, to some extent, is that his team went to Franco Morbidelli’s team and consulted on how to do better. Same with all the other riders, if they feel the need to do better, by all means please do so,” added Razlan.

“The minimum KIP should do (in this situation) is to talk to his team mate. He has a fast team mate. It is impossible for us not to do a good setting for KIP when we can do it for John. To some extent, whether KIP likes it or not, his crew chief tried to do the same setting as John McPhee. But he needs to talk, if he keeps quiet to himself, that’s it. He has to communicate, to seek advice, to compare data.”

“KIP has six years in the championship, he’s not a rookie. He needs to do something for himself. If he was a rookie we would treat him as a rookie rider and what a rookie expects,” Razlan said. “But he’s not, he’s a seasoned Moto 2 and Moto 3 rider.”

Source link