RNF Yamaha Fails To Put Up A Show At MotoGP 2022
The MotoGP 2022 season is over and it has been an exciting one altogether. There have been a lot of surprises over the years. Fabio Quartararo failed to hold on to his title. You would expect the title champion, Francesco Bagnaia to have a higher score than just 8.5, but that’s MotoGP for you. No one knows when things can take a turn!
Talking about turns, the rudest shock was the poor show of the newest MotoGP team, the WithU RNF Yamaha team. Founder and Team Principal of RNF Yamaha, Razlan Razali expected a better show with him saying that there were more “downs than ups” during 2022. Razlan was, of course, in for a challenge, after losing the sponsorship of Petronas after the 2021 title championships. With Petronas leaving, there was a significant reduction in budget but that didn’t seem to faze Razlan Razali.
A New Beginning
Signing up with Yamaha, they quickly got the satellite bikes to go. They replaced Quartararo and Valentino Rossi. MotoGP legend Andrea Doviozoso and newcomer Darryn Binder took over their places on the bikes. Wilco Zeelenberg, Team Manager had stated at the beginning of the year that they wanted an experienced rider and a rookie, so they have the perfect blend with Dovizioso and Binder. Darryn Binder had just come up from Moto3, so he was essentially completely new to MotoGP. The team seemed to have fresh energy and vitality at the beginning of the season, but things began to unfold as the season progressed.
Luck Puts A Brake On RNF
Dovizioso failed to perform on the Yamaha bikes during the first few circuits. The blame doesn’t fall solely on him, as the Yamaha machines were just not competitive enough compared to the other bikes that were performing at their max. Moreover, Binder was just not up for the rigor and competition that prevails within MotoGP. It just shows the disparity in the talent needed to compete at this level. RNF Yamaha was struggling from the very outset with no podium finishes to show for themselves.
Just when it seemed things couldn’t be worse, Doviozoso decided to up and quit the MotoGP circuit altogether. This was a huge setback for Razlan and the RNF team, with them left without a lead rider mid-competition. Moreover, their second rider was hardly facing up to the competition. In a desperate attempt, they got Cal Crutchlow as a substitute who did manage to put up somewhat of a show. Crutchlow seemed more comfortable on the Yamaha bikes than Dovizioso ever was and was able to get the same points as Dovizioso within a quarter of the races.
With everything going south, RNF further lost their title sponsor, CryptoData, who backed out in the middle of the competition. Moreover, RNF being a new team, had to settle at the beginning for a short one-year deal with Yamaha. The partnership, therefore, was shortly about to be terminated. So, with nothing left, Razlan and the team had to give up on their hopes for 2022 and start planning for 2023.
Hoping for a Fresh Start
Things do seem to be on track though for 2023, with RNF partnering up with Aprilia this time around. Aprilia machines are known for their competitiveness and their sheer power and this could tip the scales in RNF’s favor. RNF has also signed up Miguel Oliveira who has done wonders for the KTM Tech3 giving them their first and second-ever, World Championship titles. This has inspired confidence in RNF to take a gamble on him. He has signed up with the 2018 FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Champion, Raul Fernandez.
Only time can tell how it goes for RNF in 2023. Needless to say, RNF is a small team and as such, you wouldn’t expect them to win their very first season. However, you would expect more than a no-podium show with Razlan Razali at the helm of the team. However, Razali has had his fair share of challenges after the Petronas partnership broke down. With the support of Petronas, Razali took his team to two consecutive title championships. However, without the same kind of money, there was a lot of downsizing. Inevitably, without the same budget to play with, all matters were scaled down. This has of course taken a toll on team management. With 2023 coming up within a few months, they need to prepare well to stand up to the competition. They are of course optimistic about their chances, so here’s looking forward to that.