Home  //  Circuit Guides MotoGP Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
Written by @Damien_Marquez   
Saturday, 12 October 2013 02:49

WHY GO?

The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) features fast sweeping bends, which give MotoGP bikes a noticeable rhythm that is enjoyable to ride or to watch.

One of the key aspects of this venue is that you can see as much as half of the track from your seat, and the view from most grandstands is very good.

The event tends to be well attended, if not a sell-out, and provides the usual support races of Moto2 and Moto3 rounds as well as local Superbike/Superstock/Supersport and SIC Ninja 250 Cup/Open 250 series.

The Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix is very budget friendly and ticket, transport and accommodation costs are some of the most affordable on the calendar, should you be able to reach Kuala Lumpur with a low cost carrier such as AirAsia.


K1 grandstand at Turn 1 and Turn 2 (Photo: Repsol Honda Team)

 

CONTENTS
1 // Location and accommodation
2 // Money matters
3 // Ticket prices
4 // Which grandstand to choose
5 // Tips and recommendations
6 // GrandPrixAdvisor fixes
7 // Useful links to prepare your Malaysian trip

 

1 // LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATION

The Sepang International Circuit is located approximately 50 km from Kuala Lumpur and situated across the road from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT).

The track is easily reached from the main city, so don't miss out on the weekend party atmosphere by staying closer to the circuit. There are RapidKL special bus services running during the MotoGP weekend. Pick up points are from KL Sentral, KLCC or LCCT every hour and the journey time advertised is 1 hour and 15 minutes to the SIC. Taxis can also be a cost effective solution when travelling as a group of three or more. Expect to pay RM300 / $100 / £70 / €80 for a return trip to KL.

The journey back to KL can be a bit long on Saturday and frustratingly long on Sunday. It can take up to five hours to go back to the city centre once the race finishes. So for people who cannot wait, there are a couple of hotels at the KLIA terminal and a Tune Hotel at the LCCT terminal. Using a taxi, is possible to stay near Bangi or Putrajaya. See useful links section for more details.


View from Main Grandstand North (Photo: Repsol Honda Team)

KL hotels can be a bit of hit and miss, especially those rated three stars or below. Stay in the KLCC/Bukit Bintang area for the major shopping malls and to soak up the nightlife in trendy bars and clubs (Luna Bar, Sky Bar, Zouk) or close to KL Sentral for easy transportation to the track. We recommend using Booking.com for their reliable reviews submitted by verified guests after check out.

 

2 // MONEY MATTERS

Coming from Europe or America, it is recommended to book your flights as soon as possible.

Return airfares to KL from:
- London $1000 / £600 / €800
- Frankfurt $1400 / £900 / €1000
- New York $1500 / £1000 / €1200
- Tokyo $700 / £500 / €600
- Melbourne $700 / £400 / €500

Three night accommodation from: $160 / £110 / €130 for a three star twin share.

Bus to the track from KLCC or KL Sentral: $10 / £7 / €8 for a day return trip.

Food and drinks (3 days): $100 / £60 / €80. Local meals start from under $5 / £3 / €4 per person.

Internet access: Roaming is generally expensive. Prepaid data plans are much cheaper than most western countries. Buy a Digi starter pack for RM10.80 ($4 / £3 / €3) when you arrive. Internet is free after spending RM8/day on data (less than $3 / £2 / €3). Digi offer a reliable 3G service on most platforms as opposed to TuneTalk which provides 3G and 3.5G to Blackberry users only. Maxis do not seem to offer prepaid plans.

 

3 // TICKET PRICES

Tickets are for a grandstand or hillstand, and seating is unreserved. The entry on Friday is free. Children under the age of seven can be admitted for free as long as they do not use a seat. It is worth considering buying them a seat for peace of mind. There is no general admission as such (it is not possible to go round the track) and the hillstands are as close as it gets.

The prices above are inclusive of a RM3.00 transaction fee. The exchange rates from xe.com are based on the highest rates since the last Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix.

 

4 // WHICH GRANDSTAND TO CHOOSE

The Main, K1 and F Grandstands as well as the C2 Hillstand are all covered. Additionally, the Main, K1 and F Grandstands have video walls opposite.

The Main Grandstand North provides different experiences depending on where you are sitting. This due to the pit building obstructing the view of Turns 3 and 4 for all spectators there, as well as Turns 5 and 6 except for those located towards the last corner.

Seats towards the end of the pit lane give views of the full pit straight, pit lane, Turn 1 and Turn 2.

In the middle section, seats are facing most garages, pit lane, starting grid and podium celebrations.

The section towards the Tower and last corner provide views of slow moving bikes out of Turn 15, or entering the pit lane. It is a good place to see the back of the grid, the start/finish of the race. These seats also offer views of the fast flowing Turns 5, 6 and 7 in the background. From there, it is possible to shoot videos panning from Turn 15 into Turn 1 for the full pit straight, then catch the bikes out of Turn 5 all the way down to Turn 7 then back to Turn 15, which is side by side with Turn 7.The only drawback from this section of the grandstand is that the TV screen is too far to be of any use, and there are none for the people sitting at the Tower.

The top platform of the Tower though is an excellent vantage point for taking great quality pictures as Turn 15 is the second slowest corner of the circuit. Beware the overcrowding though.

From the Main Grandstand South, it is possible to see half of the track, from Turn 8 to Turn 15, including the Turn 9 hairpin and the fast flowing curves at Turns 12 and 13.

Arrive early to get a seat on the upper platform, so that your view remains clear of the catch fence, which helps to take better quality pictures.

For those who like to shoot videos, a great spot to do so is on the South side of the Main Grandstand half way between Turn 8 and the hairpin at Turn 9. As bikes disappear towards Turn 10, you can carry on panning towards the beginning of the back straight (Turn 14) all the way down Turn 15 (last corner) so as to grab the next bike coming from Turn 8. Bring a monopod to stabilise your camera or camcorder as you will most likely need to zoom in a fair bit - bikes can be much further away than usual considering how much you can see of the circuit from there.


Image: Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd.

The K1 grandstand boasts views of the pit straight for the start/finish line, Turn 1 and Turn 2. It is worth noting the superscreen opposite is quite far away and maybe too small for comfort.

The F grandstand also offers views of pit straight but from the back of the grid. It is also for watching the bikes taking Turn 6, Turn 7 and Turn 8 as well as Turn 15, the last corner heading towards the main straight. Access for this grandstand requires a free circuit shuttle bus to get back to the circuit entrance. Be aware that queues can be lengthy there.

Of the three hillstands, C2 is the cheapest for the weekend and offers similar views to the South side of the Main Grandstand for a fraction of the cost. It certainly provides a better and higher vantage point than the K2 or B hillstands.

 

5 // TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The heat, humidity (around 85%) and success (overcrowding) make this event rather unsuitable for young families. Wear light clothing and shorts preferably, rather than a pair of jeans. Take a cap and sunscreen in case you end up sitting at the bottom rows of the K1 or F grandstands, or any of the hillstands. Make sure you keep hydrated too.

The chance of rain in Malaysia is usually quite high, so take an umbrella regardless of what the weather looks like in the morning.

If you hold a ticket for one of the hillstands, bring something to sit on e.g. a plastic bag, in case it rains.

Bring your hand sanitiser as there is not always handwash in the bathrooms.

During the F1 weekend, live commentary is provided at the track in dual Malaysian and English. It can be quite difficult to follow the commentary from the track PA system, so bring a radio set (available on most mobile phones except Samsung) and a set of canalphones to block the excessive noise from the bikes. In 2013, GP2 commentary was provided in English on 90.8 FM.


Main Grandstand North (Photo: Repsol Honda Team)

If you are travelling by the RapidKL bus services, book your tickets in advance. The queues for getting on board being already significant, you wouldn't want to add more waiting time queing up for a bus ticket.

Unless you can afford to book another flight (e.g. Singapore or Bangkok), spend another $60 / £40 / €50 to stay the night in KL after the race, and avoid the stress of making it on time back at the airport. Allow at least five hours after the race before check-in closes.

 

6 // GRANDPRIXADVISOR FIXES

Regulate traffic more efficiently out of the circuit. A dedicated bus lane to KLIA, LCCT, KL Sentral and KLCC is needed to move more people quicker out of the SIC and provide a better experience to spectators. More RapidKL buses are needed so that spectators do not have to queue for one hour prior to get stuck in slow moving traffic (albeit in an air conditioned environment).

An organised and dedicated taxi rank for people who prefer this mode of transport.

More food stalls are needed. Queuing up to one hour or running out of food and drinks on the Sunday race is unacceptable.

The grandstands could do with more ushers. From a safety perspective, it is dangerous to have spectators searing in the aisles because no seats are easily accessible or available. Consider numbering seats for the Main Grandstand.

The TV screens are few and far between. Three video walls on either side of the Main Grandstand aren't enough for all spectators to follow the action.

 

7 // USEFUL LINKS TO PREPARE YOUR MALAYSIAN TRIP

sepangcircuit.com - ticket sales (MYR) and event information
BookMoto.com - our ticket sales (GBP) partner
www.myrapid.com.my - public transport information and tickets
Booking.com - our reliable hotel reservation partner
samasamahotels.com - KLIA hotel
sepang.concordehotelsresorts.com Sepang hotel accessible via free shuttle from KLIA
tunehotels.com/our-hotels/klia-lcct-airport - LCCT hotel
digi.com.my - 3G mobile/cell phone service
tunetalk.com/my - 3G and 3.5G mobile/cell phone service for Blackberry users
motogp.com - general information

 

The author has attended the Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix in 2011 at the last corner's end of the Main Grandstand North.

Have you been to the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix? Help improve this guide by leaving your impressions of the Sepang Circuit in the 'Write a Review' section of this website.

If you would like to add further information or correct any of the above article, please leave your comments below.

Malaysian MotoGP spectator guide
 

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