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Indonesian motorbike rider dies after Sepang accident

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Sepang (Malaysia) (AFP)

An Indonesian motorbike rider competing in a tournament to promote young talent died Saturday after an accident at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, officials said, triggering tributes from the racing community.

Afridza Munandar, 20, was involved in the incident on turn 10 in the first lap of the race which took place after qualifying for Sunday's MotoGP, they said.

Reports said he was involved in a crash with another rider. The race, part of the Asia Talent Cup, was red-flagged following the accident and then cancelled.

He received medical treatment by the side of the track and was then taken by helicopter to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, MotoGP said in a statement.

"Despite the best efforts of circuit medical staff and those at the hospital, Munandar sadly succumbed to his injuries shortly thereafter," it said.

Munandar notched up two wins, two second place and two third place finishes this season and had been set to fight for the championship this weekend.

After 10 races, he was third in the Asia Talent Cup standings with 142 points.

The cup seeks to promote the careers of young riders, and is designed as a stepping stone onto the world stage.

Saturday's race was the 11th of 12 in the Asia Talent Cup calendar. The final race, at Sepang on Sunday, will go ahead after riders voted in favour of it. It will be held in memory of Munandar.

MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez led tributes to the Indonesian, tweeting it was a "sad day for motorcycling".

LCR-Hondas's Cal Crutchlow said: "Thoughts are with Afridza and all his family & friends at this time."

And Suzuki rider Alex Rins tweeted: "Our sport can be very tough sometimes. Rest in peace Afridza Munandar."

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