WithU RNF Yamaha launches 2022 MotoGP campaign with Binder, Dovizioso

Andrea Dovizioso and Darryn Binder are on hand to pull the covers of the re-organised WithU RNF Yamaha Racing M1s ahead of the 2022 MotoGP season

Andrea Dovizioso, Darryn Binder - RNF Racing Yamaha

The erstwhile Petronas SRT Yamaha outfit has officially morphed into WithU RNF Yamaha Racing following its launch with riders Darryn Binder and Andrea Dovizioso ahead of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship.

The Malaysian team - which made its MotoGP debut with Petronas title backing in 2019 - morphs into RNF Racing after the exit of the oil giant sparked a re-organisation and downsizing effort.

It will continue to be headed up by Razlan Razali - who chose the name RNF in a nod to his children’s initials - with Wilco Zeelenberg as team manager, but it will welcome a fresh rider line-up in the experienced Dovizioso and controversial rookie Binder.

For Dovizioso, this season will mark his first full campaign since 2020 having competed in the final five rounds of 2021. The 15-time MotoGP race winner replaces countryman Valentino Rossi both in the team and as now the oldest rider on the grid at 35-years old.

“I’m really ready for this season!" said  Dovizioso. "I’m training a lot in the gym, on my Motocross bike. I removed the plate on my collarbone early December in order to feel better for this year. Everything is going well. I’m so happy to start this full season after five races of testing last year, which was very important to start early with the Yamaha, which is different to what I used the last eight seasons.

"I’m convinced that this will help me a lot to approach the tests and the races in 2022 in a better way. I know more about the bike, about the engineers and the team in general. The new colors are adding to the amazing overall picture and I’m looking forward to the test in Malaysia. The last two years we couldn’t ride there, so I’m really happy to go to Sepang.”

With Dovizioso - who made his MotoGP debut in 2008 - fulfilling the brief for experience, his team-mate Binder represents an entirely different proposition, becoming only the second rider in the modern-GP era to make the jump directly from Moto3.

The appointment has led to some controversy with many concerned Binder - with only one Moto3 win to his name - is unqualified for a full MotoGP ride. Regardless, the South African, whose brother Brad competes with KTM, is full of optimism.

“The colours of my new bike are just beautiful!. Once you see the design and how everything is going to look like for the season, it just makes you so excited to get out and actually ride with the new livery and then you know the 2022 season is officially starting once the team launch has happened. I definitely can’t wait! It’s going to be so awesome, I’m very, very excited for my first season in MotoGP!

“Our goal is just to take it step by step. Obviously, it’s a big jump from Moto3 to MotoGP and I only want to take it gradually and build up as high as I can. I don’t want to do anything too crazy, but rather take one step at a time and go up slowly, but surely. I’m really excited, now I can’t wait for the Sepang test to get everything going!”

Petronas’ exit has seen the team take on title backing from Italian energy company WithU, which has been a prominent sponsor with Moto2 and Moto3 teams over the years.

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