MotoGP boots RNF team from 2024 grid

rugby27 November 2023 16:25| © AFP
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The RNF team © Getty Images

The RNF team, an Aprilia affiliate in MotoGP this season, has been excluded from the 2024 championship for "repeated infractions and breaches" affecting the competition's image, organisers said on Monday.

"The MotoGP Selection Committee... have decided not to select the CryptoDATA MotoGP Team for the 2024 season," read a statement released the day after the season-ending race in Valencia.

"Repeated infractions and breaches of the Participation Agreement affecting the public image of MotoGP have obliged this decision."

RNF on Saturday denied rumours of financial troubles and its potential withdrawal, announcing earlier on Monday its partnership with a new sponsor.

But the decision taken by MotoGP authorities appears to be final.

"The Selection Committee will be reviewing applications for a new Independent Team, using Aprilia machinery, to join the MotoGP class grid for 2024," the statement added.

The exclusion of RNF leaves its two riders – Portugal's Miguel Oliveira and Spain's Raul Fernandez – in limbo as they wait to see which team steps in as a replacement.

RNF, founded by Malaysian Razlan Razali with the backing of state energy firm Petronas, entered MotoGP in 2019 under the name Sepang Racing Team.

After losing the financial support of Petronas last year, Razali took over the team and renamed it RNF. Romanian company CryptoDATA then became its majority shareholder at the end of 2022.

Razali had announced his departure on social media at the start of the weekend in Valencia.

The team, which used Yamaha bikes until 2022, was home to world champion Fabio Quartararo for his first two years in MotoGP.

The Frenchman then made the step up to Yamaha's factory team in 2021, trading places with Italian great Valentino Rossi who brought the curtain down on his career with the Malaysian team.