The Grand Prix of Malaysia, of motorcycling’s premier MotoGP championship, will remain on the series’ calendar until at least 2024 following an extension of its current hosting deal and the addition of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas as the race’s title sponsor.
The hosting renewal was agreed between series organizer Dorna Sports and Sepang International Circuit, where the race has been held since 1999.
The two parties are also already in discussion to extend the agreement further, until 2026.
The Sepang circuit, just outside the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, has held 20 races since it was added to the calendar and is characterized by MotoGP as a “fan and rider favorite”.
Azhan Shafriman Hanif, chief executive of Sepang International Circuit, said: “I am pleased to inform that we have concluded my first negotiation on the contract extension with Dorna Sports as the chief executive officer of Sepang International Circuit and I would like to extend my gratitude to those who have made this possible.
“With record-breaking crowds year on year, we look forward to welcoming the fans back to Sepang after a two-year break due to the pandemic. In line with our #WelcomeHome theme, this year is about the revival of international motorsports with more unique offerings to the fans.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive of Dorna Sports, added: “Malaysia is a vital market for MotoGP, and it is a pleasure to race at Sepang and witness the incredible passion of the fans who fill the grandstands. After proving able to return to Malaysia for pre-season testing this year, we couldn’t be more eager to come back and race. We all look forward to the Grand Prix of Malaysia and seeing our Malaysian fans for many more seasons.”
As part of the renewal, the race will become known commercially as the Petronas Grand Prix of Malaysia from its 2022 edition, which will be held across October 21 to 23.
For Petronas, the sponsorship represents an expansion of its involvement with motorcycling and Dorna, with the state-owned company already the official fuel supplier of Moto2 and Moto3, the MotoGP support series.
Of that agreement, Ezpeleta said: “We’re also very proud to enter into this partnership with Petronas, a brand that is synonymous with excellence and success, and a fantastic ambassador for Malaysia on the world stage. There can be no better headline act as a title sponsor for the Grand Prix of Malaysia than one of the most emblematic names in motorsports. We look forward to seeing this iconic brand take top billing at the event.”
Datin Anita Azrina Abdul Aziz, senior general manager for group strategic communications at Petronas, added: “Petronas is extremely honored to be the title sponsor of the Grand Prix of Malaysia, largely considered a key sporting event in Malaysia and Asia. The title sponsorship offers a unique opportunity for Petronas to connect with the sport’s massive fanbase and showcase our brand and products.
“More importantly, through this strategic partnership with Dorna Sports, we hope to help reenergize Malaysia’s sports tourism for the benefit of Malaysians and visitors as the world collectively rebounds from the pandemic.”
Towards the end of last year, MotoGP renewed its contract with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to hold the Spanish Grand Prix there until 2026.
Earlier this week, meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki al Faisal indicated that his country was potentially interested in hosting a MotoGP round in the future.