SEPANG – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has tipped his hat to fans who continue to throng the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix which is in its 26th edition this year.
The event, he said, would not have achieved the level of success seen without the passion of the fans.
“I would like to thank all MotoGP fans from near and far who have travelled in support of their beloved riders, and who never fail to round up their friends and family to come over to Sepang to cheer on their favourite riders live,” he said.
With sports being a universal unifier, Najib said he also looked forward to seeing Malaysian motorsport fans coming together in one voice to support homegrown talent.
His remarks were contained in the programme book of the 2016 Malaysian MotoGP.
Najib said this year’s championship had shaped up to be an exciting one, in more ways than one, especially for Malaysians.
“For local fans, the hope of seeing another Malaysian on the podium this year was high,” he said as he alluded to local talent like Khairul Idham Pawi and Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah.
Interest among fans, he said, had been catalysed by the introduction of local riders in recent years, with tremendous growth in spectator numbers at the Malaysia MotoGP recorded from 2010 to 2015.
“The total number of spectators grew from 105,000 to 150,000, an impressive 42 per cent increase,” he said, adding that the figure grew a healthy 15 per cent from 2014 to 2015 alone.
“Local support is crucial in any major sporting event, and it augurs well that the Malaysia MotoGP has achieved at least 70 per cent local attendance over that period,” the prime minister said.
Najib said that being exclusive to the region, the Malaysia MotoGP was not only important to Malaysia but also to the two-wheel motorsport ecosystem and motorcycle industry across Southeast Asia.