Sepang International Circuit chairman Dato' Mokhzani Mahathir has released a statement following Marco Simoncelli's death in Sunday's Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang.
The race was stopped on lap two after Simoncelli fell in the path of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards and was impacted at considerable speed.
As medical teams did their utmost to save the life of Simoncelli, a subsequent restart was delayed before the decision was taken to cancel it altogether. Even so, when the announcement to cancel the race was relayed to spectators, little information was provided at the time, prompting disappointment among some trackside fans.
However, Mahathir says it was important to officially inform Marco's family of his passing before explaining the full extent of the situation to the spectators.
“SIC would like to state that the decision to cancel the race was taken after considering the severity of the accident. The decision was agreed upon by SIC and Dorna Sports SL, the commercial rights holder of MotoGP. SIC made public announcements on the cancellation of the race and Marco's death as soon as we were authorised to do so, with priority being given to officially inform Marco's family members first. I hope that fans can understand the situation prevalent at the time.
“SIC would like to reiterate that all preparations and precautionary steps were taken to ensure we staged a safe race in accordance with FIM, AAM and Dorna safety requirements. However, the inherently dangerous nature of motorsports does not allow a race organiser or track owner to give a guarantee that nothing untoward will happen during a race."
As a fairly new venue on the MotoGP calendar, compared with some of the more historic circuits, Sepang has a good safety record.
Mahathir also praised the actions of the medical staff and circuit personnel, although amateur video footage has emerged which appears to show marshals dropping the stretcher as they rushed Simoncelli to the ambulance.
“The Sepang International Circuit is acknowledged as having been designed to be a safe circuit and managed by a team of experienced personnel, on and off track, to handle race events professionally. We work to the highest safety standards and we will continue to ensure these standards are met at every race held at our circuit.
“At the race on Sunday, circuit personnel acted speedily and professionally to attend to Marco as soon as the accident happened. Despite all that was done, the medical team could not change the outcome of the situation given the severity of his injuries. In the aftermath of this sad tragedy, we will work with FIM and Dorna to see if there is anything else we can do to improve rider safety in races.
“We at SIC are honoured to have had Marco gracing our track with his dazzling skills and panache all these years. To Marco, may you rest in peace. You will be missed. Addio Super Sic.”
Simoncelli won his only world title, the 2008 250cc World Championship, at Sepang.