PETALING JAYA: Datuk Razlan Razali has stepped down as chief executive officer of Sepang International Circuit (SIC) but he is not staying out of the motorsports fraternity.
Razlan, who was appointed on Oct 8 in 2008, has been at the helm for almost 12 years and is the longest serving chief executive officer for SIC.
The 48-year-old, who served his last day on Tuesday, said he wants to focus full time on his role and responsibilities as the team principal of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) in the MotoGP world championship.
“I have been wearing two hats and it consumes a lot of my time. It is time to move forward and open a new chapter.
“I will be able to focus fully on engagement with sponsors, attracting new sponsors, improving the team’s function as a platform for Malaysians to compete in the MotoGP and also strengthening the team’s corporate governance, ” said Razlan, who is a superbike and triathlon enthusiast.
For Razlan, his time at SIC will surely be remembered for what he did to transform the circuit from barely filling the stands to sold-out race day attendances for several years at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The Malaysian GP has attracted more than 100,000 spectators over the last three years and all that is due to the presence of competitive local riders.
“At my first press conference and that was two weeks before the 2008 Malaysian MotoGP, I made a commitment to place a Malaysian rider as a wild card in the 2009 Malaysian MotoGP.
“I manage to place not only one but two local riders in the 125cc category of the MotoGP world championship. One of them is Zulfahmi Khairuddin. It’s certainly my proudest moments to see Zulfahmi going on to become the first Malaysian to take pole the following season at the 2012 Malaysian MotoGP.
“He came in second in that race and went on to get a second podium (third place) in Valencia later. For him to get on the podium here... in the home race... is just magic.
“That sparked the revival for Malaysian motorsports. We also worked hard to secure a break for Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah to become the first Malaysian to make it to the premier class MotoGP.
“That’s another sweet accomplishment. I am proud we have never failed to place a Malaysian rider in the world championship every year since then.
“It was also important to put a development plan in place by having our riders participating in the CEV Junior World Championship and the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup (ATC), a feeder championship that features Asia’s brightest young talents in motorcycle racing (which was founded in 2014.)
“We worked with the Youth and Sports Ministry to support young Malaysian talents to compete in the ATC meet against riders from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.”But the Malaysian GP also brought out a sad episode as it was in 2011 when Italian rider Marco Simoncelli died after a racing incident.
“There have been no deaths involving a MotoGP rider for so long and this happened in our biggest race of the year and that is the low point.
“Nevertheless, it has been an amazing journey leading the SIC team.
“What we have achieved in the past decade is truly a team effort – it would not have been possible without the full support and commitment of not just the team at SIC, but also from our partners and stakeholders.
“I wish them and the new chief executive officer (Azhan Shafriman Hanif) great success. From what we planned over the last few years, I have faith in my team doing their best to ensure Malaysia GP remains relevant for the country.”