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Malaysia may stage back-to-back F1 and MotoGP races next year


SEPANG: Malaysia could take centrestage as the first nation to host Formula One and MotoGP events on successive weekends next year.

But the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) are not keen on it.

The provisional MotoGP calendar for 2016 has listed Sepang as the host of the 26th edition of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Oct 9, followed by back-to-back races in Motegi, Japan (Oct 16) and Phillip Island, Australia (Oct 23).

The FIA have also tweaked their provisional calendar for 2016, shifting the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix from March to Oct 2 – in between the Singapore Grand Prix (Sept 18) and Japanese Grand Prix (Oct 9).

SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali has discussed with MotoGP promoter Dorna about shifting the 2016 Malaysian motorcycle race to the end of October instead.

“We are requesting to swap dates with Phillip Island,” said Razlan.

“Dorna have also indicated that they do not want to deal with the logistics of bringing in the equipment and bikes for MotoGP right after we’re done with the Formula One event.

“It could be a massive logistic problem for us. We should expect a favourable answer from them when they finalise the calendar.”

This year’s Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix also saw SIC registering an all-time high crowd attendance of 150,563 for the entire weekend. A total of 88,832 spectators watched Sunday’s dramatic MotoGP race, which saw Spaniard Dani Pedrosa’s victory being overshadowed by the acrimonious clash between Italian Valentino Rossi and outgoing world champion Marc Marquez.

About 45,169 fans attended Saturday’s qualifying while Friday’s practice session, which was free, attracted 16,562 fans.

“We were concerned about the haze but, thankfully, it did not affect our attendance,” said Razlan.

“I’m happy to see that MotoGP, not Formula One, has become our biggest event this year.”

   

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