KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) has given an assurance that the track will be safe for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) to be held from Oct 27 to 29.
SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said daily monitoring and maintenance had been carried out by a team before International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) representatives did their inspection on the race week.
“Issues regarding the drain covers were fixed during the Formula One (F1) but we will inform FIM of what happened during the F1 race so that they can look into it.
“MotoGP’s track inspection is very much more detail than F1. In fact, we find it is difficult to deal with FIM because their safety standard is much higher than F1, as they are meant for two-wheel race (more dangerous),” he told reporters today.
Romain Grosjean’s Haas was flung into the barriers at high speed in the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix after a drain grille, which should have been welded securely, popped up at a kerb on turn nine after Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari drove over it.
In the incident, Grosjean’s car spun after hitting the raised metal drain cover, causing huge damage to the vehicle.
Following the Frenchman’s crash, safety officials spent Friday evening checking every drain cover at the 5.543km circuit.
Meanwhile, Razlan disclosed that SIC was targeting 100,000 spectators on MotoGP race day this year.
He noted that all grandstand tickets were already sold out, with a total of 7,500 tickets remaining for the C2 and Shell Hillstands.
“We are anticipating about 160,000 spectators over three days. We are targeting more than 95,000 on Sunday race day. It’s gonna be a huge event and huge crowd for the upcoming MotoGP,” he said, adding that the race had achieved a record-breaking turnout of 161,553 spectators over three days last year.
Razlan also announced a 10 per cent price hike for the race next year, citing the rising costs as the main reason behind the decision.
“We are not able to maintain our current prices due to the current economic climate and rising costs. The last time we increased the price was three years ago,” he said.
He noted that the 10 per cent increase was just justifiable to make sure that SIC would be able to organise world championship race in the higher standard.
“We have to engage nearly 1,000 volunteers and use lots of vehicles every time during the MotoGP and F1 event. Spectator expectation is also higher and spectator experience has also increased year in year out,” he added.
Razlan said fans would have the opportunity to purchase main grandstand tickets for the 2018 MotoGP with Super Early Bird Promotion until Oct 29.
“We have decided to announce next year’s tickets early to ensure fans can book their dates and make travel plans for next year earlier to avoid the hassle of buying at the last minute. Although the tickets have increased for 2018, fans who purchased main grandstand tickets during Super Early Bird promotion stand to buy their tickets at this year’s early bird promotional price,” he said.
The 2018 Malaysian MotoGP is scheduled from Nov 2 to 4. — Bernama