The World Superbike Championship will not return to Sepang in Malaysia next season.
The circuit has hosted WorldSBK for the past three years, but crowd numbers have remained disappointing low and Sepang has reluctantly decided to focus on its F1 and MotoGP events.
“With SIC's contract to host the WorldSBK ending this year, we decided not to continue hosting this event in Sepang," said SIC Chief Executive Officer Dato' Razlan Razali. "Due to the current financial climate and SIC's financial commitments to improve our existing facilities as well as build new ones, it is the most prudent decision at this point.
"As we are looking to avoid financial risks at the moment, we feel it is best to reserve resources for our two biggest international events – the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix and the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix. Nevertheless, we may consider hosting WorldSBK again in the future when the financial climate improves and if our market insights indicate great interest and demand to bring it back.”
Home star Zulfahmi Khairuddin took a podium finish in front of his home fans in World Supersport this season, a result Dato' Razlan now describes as 'bittersweet'.
“The excitement generated by Fahmi's participation and great performance has been very good for the event," he said. "It is also bittersweet for us as it caps a memorable three years for us on a high.
"Hosting the WorldSBK has been meaningful to the SIC team and we will miss organising the event. However, when we look at all the factors as a whole, the decision not to continue hosting the WorldSBK in Sepang is the best one at the moment.
"We hope the future will offer other opportunities to bring WorldSBK back to Malaysia. Nevertheless, we will continue to support Fahmi's career through to 2017, inside the Supersport World Championship in all the ways we can.”
Sepang is the only circuit currently hosting F1, MotoGP and WorldSBK events.
By Peter McLaren