MotoGP in Malaysia: Tragedy & Thievery
It’s been a tough race weekend for the MotoGP community during the Malaysian leg and many will want to forget about it
The 2019 Malaysian MotoGP has been a bit of a mess. First, Indonesian rider Afridza Munandar succumbed to his injuries after being involved in an incident in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup (IATC) race at the Sepang International Circuit on the 2nd of November. According to a statement issued by MotoGP, the incident occurred at Turn 10 on Lap 1, with the race red flagged immediately thereafter. The 20-year-old rider received medical attention by the side of the track before being transferred to Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) by helicopter.
A second incident in the paddock involved theft. Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer Razlan Razali had expressed disappointment over the thefts which occurred at the Sepang Circuit. He added, although insurance claims will compensate teams for their loss, Malaysia’s image as a promoter of world-class sports has been tarnished. Hardest hit will be the reputation of SIC. It is indeed a bit of a shock to many of us who have worked in and around Sepang during a race weekend as security is not just heightened but indeed, rather tyrannical whenthe international races come down.
“I am disappointed over this incident because we have carefully prepared, in cooperation with Dorna (MotoGP organising rights holder), to safeguard not only the riders but also their property. “I am angry because although we are fully prepared, there are some who did this to tarnish the name of the country and circuit as the promoter of world-class sports,” he told the media at Sepang Circuit today. The thefts, which hit several teams, is believed to have occurred early Friday between 1am and 5am during heavy rain. Among the most affected by the incident was the Angel Nieto Team, which lost spare parts such as front tyres, suspension and brakes for Moto2 and Moto3 class bikes.
“What I learnt after a meeting with the team is that there may be a group that already knows what they want to steal. “For example, the thieves only took the front tyres,” he said. Razlan said the Sepang Circuit is closely monitored, including by closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. It has also established an accreditation scanning system from this year. Beyond the cameras and official statements, last weekends Malaysian MotoGP also saw fights at the entry gates by hooligans which were shared on Malaysian social media.
It’s not been a great show for Malaysia by any stretch.