Thursday, 18 July 2019

SIC gears up for 20th MotoGP in November

Tan Sri Mohamed Azman Yahya

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 (Bernama) -- The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is fully geared up to host the 20th edition of the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) from Nov 1-3, to ensure a special and memorable event for fans and riders alike.

Since the inaugural edition at the 5.543km track in 1999 - the brainchild of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad – the event has matured into a showpiece of motor racing in the South East Asia region.

Besides the 20th anniversary, this year’s event also coincides the 10th year of Shell’s title sponsorship for the Malaysia GP and 70th anniversary of the MotoGP, which started in January 1949 with events consisting of the Isle of Man TT, Swiss GP, Dutch TT, Belgian GP, Ulster GP and the GP of Nations at Monza.

SIC chairman Tan Sri Azman Yahya said the historic moment was bound to be a special occasion as SIC had worked hard over the years to ensure the race is of the highest quality.

“It will be such a great honour to witness the 20th anniversary of the Malaysian GP this year – and also the 70th anniversary of the MotoGP. For 20 years, we have worked hard to ensure that the quality of the Malaysia GP is at the highest level and we have proven that with our success as the Best Grand Prix in 2012 and 2017 as awarded by the Grand Prix Commission.

“I'm grateful to have a loyal partner like Shell, who has been with us since 2009. We have seen waves of success during the 10 years together and I thank you for that,” he said during the official launch of the Shell Malaysia MotoGP here tonight.

With a steady growth since 2010, the event has blossomed into a spectacular affair for two-wheel fans, selling out year after year, where in 2018, the Malaysia MotoGP registered a record turnout of 169,827 spectators for the three-day event.

Over the years, MotoGP has served as a platform to develop Malaysian talents to compete in world-class championships with the likes of Shahrol Yuzy, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Adam Norrodin and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, to name a few.

Meanwhile, Shell Malaysia chairman Datuk Iain Lo said the oil and gas company is excited to celebrate its long-standing involvement in world motorcycle racing with all motorsports enthusiasts through its collaboration with SIC.

At the same event, SIC and Shell Malaysia also announced special off-track activities for fans, as two winners will have the chance to win a fully paid trip to watch the Shell Malaysia MotoGP with exclusive behind-the-scene experience through the MalaysianGP Superfan Contest.

Among the highlights for this year will be a live viewing session in Kuantan, first time outside Klang Valley, to extend its excitement to a larger group of fans and the return of Shell Hillstand, the exclusive viewing area at the circuit to provide motorsports enthusiasts an opportunity to enjoy differentiated experience including family-friendly activities and a variety of food and beverages.

Aimed at providing a bigger and better Malaysia MotoGP experience, fans will have the chance to support their favourite riders in action as SIC All Stars showcasing talented MotoGP riders will take on Team Media FC at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Fans also will have the chance to get up close and personal with top riders like defending champion Marc Marquez, seven-time champion Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo as well as national rider Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, among others, during the two-day rider's autograph session and fan forum at SIC in early November.

“The hype will be much bigger this year as we have a Malaysian team racing in three different categories of the championship. The Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team just bared their fangs when Fabio Quartararo finished second at the Catalunya GP and with Hafizh and Khairul Idham Pawi on the grid, Malaysians will have more to cheer for.

“Although tickets remain at the same price for the Malaysian GP, there is an addition of 25% entertainment tax imposed by the state government. However, the event remains to be a much-awaited one and tickets are selling fast. I encourage all fans to start getting theirs now before it sells out.

“To ensure a comfortable and convenient experience for the fans, work has also started to fix the roofing of the Main Grandstand and better fittings for the public toilets. We are excited to see the new and improved roof during the race this year,” Azman added.

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