PETALING JAYA – Kuala Terengganu-born Muhammad Hafiza Rofa, Malaysia’s up and coming sensation in world motorcycle racing, has been named as a wildcard entry for this year’s Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix to be held at the Sepang Circuit from 24-26 October.
The 18-year-old, currently competing in his debut Spanish CEV Repsol championship season with the SIC-Ajo Team, will line up on the grid along with four other Malaysians. Leading the Malaysian cast will be Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, who both rocked the Sepang Circuit to its core in 2012 when they finished on the podium.
The two other riders who will feature in the penultimate round are Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and Amirul Hafiq Azmi, in the Moto2 and Moto3 categories respectively.
The Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix has rapidly evolved into a major event that is eagerly awaited by thousands of Malaysians and millions of fans from all around the world. Each year, more and more local and foreign fans have made their way to Sepang to catch the action.
Even more encouraging is the rising number of youngsters from various backgrounds who are being attracted to the sport. This is a direct result of the success of the Malaysian riders on the global stage.
Sepang International Circuit (SIC) CEO Datuk Razlan Razali revealed Hafiza’s participation in the Moto3 category during the launch of the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2014 held in Sunway today. Also present was Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia.
“We are delighted to announce Hafiza as the wildcard for this year’s Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcyle Grand Prix. He is a young and exciting talent and will benefit immensely by racing amongst the best in the world,” Datuk Razlan said.
“Our Malaysian riders have proven that they are capable of matching the world’s best riders in the past. They have done so well that Malaysian youngsters are now turning to them as role models and heroes instead of the foreign riders. We hope when they compete in front of a massive home crowd next month, they will be inspired to deliver strong performances. ”
Last year, over 120,000 fans thronged the Sepang Circuit over the three days. This year, with five Malaysian heroes in action alongside the likes of Marc Marquez, who has now won 11 out of 12 races, and many other world-class riders, SIC is expecting 90,000 spectators to pack the stands in Sepang on race day. Hafizh’s recent outstanding performance in Silverstone, where he finished eighth, will also fire up interest amongst the local fans to attend the race.
A strong united show of support from Malaysian fans from all walks of life will be a positive development following recent adversities faced by the nation.
Sales have been strong and tickets for the popular Grandstand F have already sold out. “We would like to advise fans to get their tickets early to avoid disappointment,” Datuk Razlan commented.
Meanwhile, off the track, the Mega MotoCarnival has attracted up to 80 trade and vending operators ranging from auto paraphernalia and accessories to clothing. Bike manufacturers will also be displaying their latest products and machines. Fans should not miss the opportunity to catch first-hand the latest offerings from the world of motoring.
Also of interest to local racing fans is the news that they will be able to catch Malaysia’s future stars in action in the supporting race. Round 5 and 6 of the Malaysian Super Series (Bikes) will show a line-up of strong contestants on track, while seven of our brightest talents will be competing in the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, racing against leading South East Asian and Asian youngsters, including several Japanese riders.
The seven young riders are Shafiq Rasol (18 years), Shafiq Ezzariq (15 years), Fakhrusy Rostam (18 years), Nazrul Bahauddin (14 years), Ibrahim Norrodin (14 years), Adam Norrodin (16 years) and Helmi Azman (15 years). In Sepang, the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup will be contested over two rounds – Race 8 and Race 9. If they continue to progress positively, these seven riders will one day represent the country in Motorcycle Grand Prix racing.
“These riders are being developed by DORNA and SIC to someday take over from the current batch of competitors. Given the right exposure, these boys will go very far,” Datuk Razlan said.
Meanwhile, SIC, in the run-up to the race next month, has initiated a series of exciting activities in Malaysia and the region. In addition to their advertising campaign through the print, electronic and social media, several on-ground activities have also been organised. This includes the popular SIC Zoomers which has groups of bikers visiting popular spots to promote the race, a contest, bike convoys led by Datuk Razlan himself, viewing parties and several others, including special ticket prices open to those who make purchases at the venue.
In the city centre, fans will be entertained by pre-events leading up to the race. In the line-up are a planned special demo run with top MotoGP riders, a track session for biking enthusiasts with the legendary Mick Doohan and many more. Not to be missed is also an exclusive all-female session for the lady bikers out there.
During race week, fans will get to experience the pit lane walk, autograph sessions, the ever popular shopping experience at the Mega MotoCarnival, stunt shows and plenty more.
The South East Asian Motorcycle Business Forum, which was very well received in the past, will also be held on the sidelines of the Malaysian MotoGP once again this year.
“This year’s Malaysian MotoGP has all the hallmarks of yet another sensational race. As the penultimate round, there will be much at stake for the riders, some of whom will be battling for the remaining points to secure their positions in the championship. For the Malaysian boys, they will want to give their best in front of their fans. In short, it’s going to be a showdown in Sepang,” said Datuk Razlan.