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Sepang extends MotoGP contract to 2021

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The Sepang International Circuit will continue to welcome MotoGP until 2021 after agreeing a new five-year contract with the series commercial rights holder, Dorna Sports.

Sepang has hosted MotoGP since 1999 and is witnessing a surge in popularity for the premier motorcycle racing championship, with the 2016 race being a sell-out event.

Following qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang on Saturday, officials from the circuit announced that a new contract extension had been agreed that ensured MotoGP would continue to visit the track for years to come.

“I am happy to inform that we have signed a contract extension for another five years, ending 2021, that was completed this morning,” Tan Sri Azman Yahya, chairman of Sepang International Circuit, said.

“We will continue with MotoGP for the next five years, and think we will see even better response from the public.

“I’m very pleased to announce this as it’s my first negotiation as the Chairman of Sepang, and I hope our decision is supported and welcomed.”

“We have been here since 1999 and it has been a long road together,” Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta added.

“We’re extremely proud of the Malaysian GP, the increasing spectator numbers and the incredible spectacle. We are proud to renew for at least these five years.”

The contract renewal comes just days after officials from the Sepang circuit and the Malaysian government called for the track to stop hosting Formula 1 due to its expense and falling ticket sales.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”