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Despite the heavy rainfall over the weekend, the 2016 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix drew a record number of fans for the three-day race event at Sepang International Circuit (SIC). Surpassing last year’s record of 150,563 spectators, this year’s edition of the MotoGP had 161,533 fans in attendance.

With the signing of a new contract with Dorna, the organising body for MotoGP, SIC has the rights to host the world championship event till 2021. In addition, oil company Shell has agreed to continue as main race sponsor up to 2020. For other races, SIC this year lost the World Superbike championship race, while the rights to Formula One are still undecided.

“We are looking forward to doing much more to grow interest in two-wheel motorsports in Malaysia, as well as develop local talent. We’ve also received positive feedback on the new activities this year such as Watch The Race From The Sky and the Rockaway Malaysia MotoGP Weekend, thus we are exploring more options for the coming years,” said Datuk Razlan Razali, chief executive officer of SIC.

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Fan turnout was much larger this year, as evidenced by the atmosphere on Friday and Saturday, during practice and qualifying. The mall area, much enlarged for 2016, also saw motorcycle distributors and bike accessory vendors turning out in full force, with several vendors reporting encouraging sales.

On the racing front, Khairul Idham Pawi – a.k.a. SuperKIP – came in eighth in the Moto3 race, while Adam Norrodin did not finish due to a first lap crash. Hafiq Azmi, given a wildcard to ride with Peugeot MC Saxoprint, finished 11th.

In the Moto2 class, Hafizh Syahrin of Petronas Raceline Malaysia claimed fifth place while Ramdan Rosli of Petronas AHM Malaysia, another wildcard entrant, came in 12th. Winner of the race, Johann Zarco of Ajo Motorsport, also clinched his second Moto2 championship crown.

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At the top-flight, Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati came in first, beating Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo of Movistar Yamaha, for second and third, respectively. Dovizioso is the ninth winner of a MotoGP this season, which has seen wins from all the major manufacturers.

These include Cal Crutchlow of Great Britain; Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, all Spanish; Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi of Italy; and Australian Jack Miller. In the MotoGP championship standings, Marquez has a mathematically insurmountable 278 points, making him world champion going into the last race of 2016 in Valencia, Spain.