Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali (right) at a press conference held at Suria KLCC today. Pix by Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali

KUALA LUMPUR: Sepang International Circuit (SIC) have assured that Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix on Oct 27-29 will not be affected by safety issues such as that seen during the Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix earlier this month.

SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said a detailed inspection of the track will be conducted prior to the event to ensure that all areas are covered.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean struck a loose drain cover during the F1 Malaysian GP which saw his right rear tire explode, causing him to crash at high speed into the tire barrier at the Sepang Circuit.

"All issues concerning the drain covers had already been fixed during the F1 event itself, however, we will be monitoring all aspects closely," said Razlan, at a press conference held by SIC today.

"We will also inform FIM of what happened during the F1 race. FIM will also be conducting their own inspection of the track prior to the race.

"In fact, FIM inspections have always been tougher (to pass) and more detailed than those done by FIA as they are meant for motorcycles (which are subject to more dangerous situations)."

Razlan disclosed that SIC are targeting 100,000 spectators on race day for MotoGP this year.

All tickets for the grandstands have already been sold out with only 7,500 tickets remaining for the C2 and Shell Hillstands.

"We are hoping to see 100,000 fans turnup for the race on Sunday, however, anything more than 95,000 will already be a success," added Razlan.

"Overall we hope to see more than 160,000 spectators over the three days. We are optimistic as Malaysians tend to buy their tickets at the last minute."

The race achieved a record breaking turnout of 161,553 spectators over three days last year.

SIC, however, announced a 10 per cent price hike for the race next year (2018), with Razlan citing rising costs as the main reason behind the move.

SIC had increased the price of grandstand tickets by 25 per cent in 2014.

"Unfortunately, we are not able to maintain our current prices due to the current economic climate and rising costs. The last time we have increased the price was three years ago.

"We have to engage roughly 1,000 (temporary) staff for an event such as MotoGP and F1 and also utilise many vehicles, both of which have risen in cost.

"The expectation of visitors is always increasing and a small rise in price is the only way we can afford to keep improving the event. I believe 10 per cent is still reasonable.

"We, however, are having a super early bird promotion for local fans which will allow them to buy tickets for next year's event at this year's price."

The Super Early bird promotion for the 2018 Malaysian GP has begun and will run until Oct 29.

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