MotoGP riders Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syahrin will join World Superbike star Michael van der Mark in the home Sepang Racing Team squad for December's inaugural 8 Hours race at the Malaysian circuit.

As reported, Sepang had been pushing for its Petronas Yamaha riders Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo to be part of the event, eventually settling on an 'all-star' line-up of Morbidelli, local star Syahrin and four-time Suzuka 8 Hour winner van der Mark.

“We’re very excited to have a Sepang Racing Team entry in the first Sepang 8 Hours," said team principal Razlan Razali. "We have faith that Franco, Michael, Hafizh and YART will deliver and we’re targeting the very top step of the podium.”

The Sepang squad will race an R1 with the backing of former Endurance World Champions YART during the event, which will finish under floodlights.

“I’m curious to see how an endurance race format suits me, and I’m really looking forward to it," Morbidelli said. "It’s a different thing, it’s something nice, and when Razlan asked me to do it I thought ‘sure, why not?’

"The combination of Yamaha and Sepang Racing Team means it should be a strong package, and it’ll be nice to race with a production bike again. Riding bikes is always good for staying in shape, so it’s nice to be able to race in December.

"I’ve trained with a YZF-R1 before so I’ve got an idea of what to expect, but I’m sure the endurance superbike will be very different. I might make the most of the trip and use it to enjoy a holiday in Malaysia as well.”

Factory Yamaha World Superbike rider van der Mark, who took his first SBK victories at Donington Park this season, added:

“When I first saw there would be an EWC round at Sepang in December I knew it would be cool to race it so I’m really proud that the team asked me - plus how can you say no to such a great team and race at their home track?

"Sepang is hot and humid and it will be really hard work - but that’s also the part of the challenge of endurance racing and I really enjoy it. I will do everything to help the team with the bit of endurance experience I have because we want to fight for the victory!

"We’ve got a really strong squad but we have to be smart and consistent, because for sure our goal will be to win the team’s home race!”

Syahrin, who currently races for Tech3 KTM in MotoGP, will be especially busy at the 8 Hours weekend having also entered the touring car races!

“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the first EWC race in Malaysia. It’s not my first endurance race as I’ve ridden at the Suzuka 8 Hour before, but it’ll be very different riding in front of our home fans!" said Syahrin, who is yet to confirm his 2020 racing plans.

"It’s a really good opportunity for me to test my physical endurance because it’ll be a very long and hot race, and the most important thing will be how we work as a team.

"We’ll try our best to do a good job, but we’ve got a great team and some very strong team-mates. I’m really excited to share a bike with Franky and Michael, because they’re good riders and Michael has a lot of experience with the Yamaha. I can’t wait to get going!”

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