MotoGP

Smith is Sepang's best chance of 2019 title

Sepang CEO Razlan Razali's MotoE mission statement: "If we are going to do MotoE, we are doing it to win."

The new Petronas Yamaha MotoGP team means the Sepang team will be competing in all three grand prix classes in 2019.

But it is another new project that, on paper, has the best chance of resulting in the team's first FIM world (cup) title.

Sepang has secured the services of Bradley Smith for the debut season of the electric MotoE World Cup, which will support MotoGP at five events this year, beginning with Jerez on May 5th.

The Englishman - who has 25 grand prix podiums to his credit across 125, Moto2 and MotoGP - is fired up to impress in MotoE and Aprilia test riding as he seeks a return to the premier-class in 2020.

Smith and Sepang's new 'One Energy Racing' team made a perfect start to the new electric era by being quickest during the debut MotoE test at Jerez in November.

"Of course!" Sepang CEO Razlan Razali told Crash.net, when asked if Smith was their best chance of a championship title in 2019.

"In any championship we are not there just to make up the numbers. We actually had the right to have two MotoE bikes, but sometimes we have to be realistic and not take everything.

"So we gave one slot up. Because if we are going to do it, we are doing it to win.

"Then Bradley came into the picture and we were negotiating with him alongside other teams as well. So we were delighted he decided to come with us."

In addition to Smith in MotoE, Sepang will run Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo in MotoGP - whom Razali hopes will challenge for top independent and top rookie respectively - plus Khairul Idham Pawi on Kalex machinery in Moto2.

John McPhee joins Ayumu Sasaki on Hondas in Moto3, with Adam Norrodin moving to the Sepang Junior team in CEV. Sepang will also have a presence in the European Talent Cup.

"We're everywhere!" Razali said. "We have a strong development programme in place. But after the success of the Malaysian MotoGP the Government has seen that MotoGP is very important, hence a lot of focus in terms of development programmes.

"The budget was approved by the government towards the development of two-wheel riders. So the support from the government is there, which is very important because although we now have this structure in place for Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP we also need the talent to fill up those positions for the future.

"So that's what we are doing."

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