JOHAN STIGEFELT Team Director
A former Grand Prix racer and with a long history running teamsIn both the Grand Prix and World Superbike paddocks, Team Director Johan Stigefelt is perhaps the most key player in keeping PETRONAS Sepang Racing Team on the road. First starting out with Sepang International Circuit in 2015 in the Moto3 class, under his management the squad has expanded to all three Grand Prix classes and results beyond anyone’s wildest expectations!
How did you start in motorcycle racing?
“I grew up in Anderstop where we used to host the Swedish TT - I lived 1km from the circuit. My dad owned a motorcycle shop, so I grew up around motorcycles. Then my brother started racing, I followed him around, and eventually I started racing with him. Our first team was him and I together and it grew from there!”
Which other teams have you worked with?
“I started my own team in World Supersport in 2005. I was team owner and rider at the same time, and until 2009 I had my own team there. We were quite successful in 2009 with Leon Haslam and John Hopkins in World Superbikes, as well as in WSS with Anthony West and Gianluca Vizziello. It was a big team, and we finished sixth in the championship. I moved on to Grand Prix with Luis Salom in 2012 and we finished second, in the first year of Moto3. In 2014 I started the Caterham Air Asia project in Moto2 and we were successful with Johann Zarco. Then I met Razlan and we started the Sepang International Racing Team in 2015!”
What’s your favourite part of the job?
“My main work is between racing, managing budgets and making sure that payments are made, which is quite hard because it's never-ending, especially with three teams and five riders! It's hard work so my favourite part of the job is to come to races, be part of the success, see our riders perform and be able to see happy faces when we get on the podium or qualify on pole position. It's the reward for all the hard work behind the scenes.”
What is the team like to work with?
“We grew from a small team to a huge one with almost 50 people involved, and to be able to put together a team like this feels fantastic. I can see that everyone in the team is a great person and a fantastic character - we don't have one person I don't get on well with. It's such a nice feeling to have such good coworkers.”
What’s your best memory working with Petronas SRT?
“There's been a few this year but my absolute best is John's win in Le Mans. We've been working so hard with the Moto3 team for many years and we struggled for many years without great success. I pushed for John to come into the team, we signed him, and within five races we had a win. That feels super rewarding and it shows that the team behind him is a good crew too. The successes we've had in MotoGP is incredible too - it's actually a little bit hard to take in right now because we're in the middle of it. Franco and Fabio have achieved great things, and I feel like there's much more to come.”