Morbidelli, van der Mark and Syahrin make up three-rider squad.
Sepang Racing Team (SRT) will field a factory Yamaha YZF-R1 at the 8 Hours of Sepang for round two of the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC), where both current MotoGP and WorlSBK riders will make up the three-rider squad at the 14 December event.
The team, who will have technical support from endurance racing specialist YART Yamaha, has drafted in Petronas SRT Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and Pata Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark, as well out of contract Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider Hafizh Syahrin.
“I’m curious to see how an endurance race format suits me, and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Morbidelli. “It’s something different, it’s nice, and when Razlan asked me to do it I thought: Sure, why not? The combination of Yamaha and Sepang Racing Team means it should be a strong package, and it’ll be good to race with a production bike again.
“Riding bikes is always good for staying in shape, so it’s nice to be able to race in December. I’ve trained with a YZF-R1 before so I’ve got an idea of what to expect, but I’m sure the endurance superbike will be very different. I might make the most of the trip and use it to enjoy a holiday in Malaysia as well.”
Van der Mark added: “When I first saw there would be an EWC round at Sepang in December I knew it would be cool to race it so I’m really proud that the team asked me – plus how can you say no to such a great team and race at their home track? Sepang is hot and humid and it will be really hard work – but that’s also the part of the challenge of endurance racing and I really enjoy it.
“I will do everything to help the team with the bit of endurance experience I have because we want to fight for the victory! We’ve got a really strong squad but we have to be smart and consistent, because for sure our goal will be to win the team’s home race!”
Syahrin, whose future beyond this season is yet to be determined, is eager to take part in the inaugural event in his home country.
“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the first EWC race in Malaysia,” Syahrin commented. “It’s not my first endurance race as I’ve ridden at the Suzuka 8 Hours before, but it’ll be very different riding in front of our home fans! It’s a really good opportunity for me to test my physical endurance because it’ll be a very long and hot race, and the most important thing will be how we work as a team.
“We’ll try our best to do a good job, but we’ve got a great team and some very strong team-mates. I’m really excited to share a bike with Franky and Michael, because they’re good riders and Michael has a lot of experience with the Yamaha. I can’t wait to get going!”
The 8 Hours of Sepang will be held as part of a car and bike double-header event in Malaysia, with the round acting as a qualifier for the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours in Japan.