Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah is one of the ARRC riders who moved up to the Moto2 world championship.
SEPANG: The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) will be buzzing with activity this weekend as the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championships (ARRC) revs into action for the 19th year.
Although the paddock will be considerably void of fans – unlike when the MotoGP entourage descend there every October – the ARRC is still surfing on a high tide.
Ron Hogg of Two Wheels Motor Racing, the promoters of ARRC, believes that the meet is crucial to rider development.
“When we started in 1996, Asia was not even ready for such championships. But now, we have riders who are racing in the Moto2 world championships.
“I won’t say that we have done our job and are ready to wash our hands ... but we are getting close. We need more Asian countries to participate in the championships,” said Ron.
Among the ARRC riders who have moved up to the Moto2 world championship are Thailand’s Thitipong Warakorn, Malaysians Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and Indonesia’s Doni Tata Pradita and Rafid Topan.
Through the Asia Dream Cup – a one-make race in the championships – Japan’s Hiroki Ono was selected by Honda to race in the Spanish National Championships Moto3 class this season.
Ron said that the powerhouses in the ARRC included Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Notably missing are China, Vietnam, India and Singapore.
“But we are seeing a positive trend to this because we are welcoming several new teams and riders this season. We have also sealed a new deal with Fox Sports to broadcast the race to 15 countries.
“Many are beginning to realise that the championships are very competitive, with many good riders in the mix. I hope to see more riders from other Asian countries participating in the future,” said Ron.
The ARRC will run for six rounds, visiting circuits in Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Qatar. The final round of the championships will be held under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar in December.