Early start to 2011 Malaysian GP wildcard programme

Published on November 30th, 2010

Unlike for the previous two editions, the GP Wildcard Programme for 2011 starts early with three candidates for the wildcard ticket at the 2011 Malaysian Motocycle Grand Prix, which is scheduled as the penultimate round of the MotoGP World Championship in October, already been identified.

Selected from the Supersports Junior Championship from the just concluded 2010 Malaysian Super Series, teenagers Muhammad Farid Badrul Hisham, Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah and Muhammad Syafiq Omar will now need to battle it out between themselves for the single wildcard ticket to race in the MotoGP 125 class at Sepang, scheduled from October 21 to 23.

Announcing this today, Sepang International Circuit (SIC), which would again spearhead the programme, said though the actual training and trials for the three riders would commence a few month before the Malaysian MotoGP race in October, they are advised to start their own training immediately to prepare themselves.

“The trials will start approximately three to four months before the Malaysian MotoGP. The shortlisted riders, however, are encouraged to continue with their fitness training and participate in the MSS next season to maintain their edge in competitiveness and riding time,” said SIC Chief Executive Officer Datuk Ahmad Razlan Ahmad Razali.

As in the first GP wildcard programme, Razlan said that the selection for the Malaysian wildcard rider for the 2011 race would be decided by a top international GP125cc team, which would be engaged by SIC later to support the programme. In 2009, the programme had the Italian-based Ongetta I.S.P.A Team in selecting the Malaysian riders.

SIC introduced the 600cc Supersports Junior Championship this year in an effort to woo in more youngsters and had offered for the three top Malaysian juniors a shot at the wildcard ticket to compete in the 125cc race at the Malaysian MotoGP next year.

The championship was topped by Thailand’s junior riders – Apiwat Wongthananon and Rathapong Wilairot – with the 17-year old Farid as Malaysia’s best performer; finishing third overall with 165 points. Hafizh Syahrin finished fourth with 115 points and Shafiq ended the season in fifth placing with 107 points.

While Hafizh Syahrin needs no introduction in the motorcycling fraternity in view of his commanding performance at the PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship, Farid – the son of former top motocross rider Badrul Hisham Mohd Zin and owner of Badrul Motorsports – used to compete in motocross races before shifting to track racing two years ago.

Shafiq – the son of MSS regular Omar Ali Abdullah – on the other hand, had competed in the JPM GP Dream Championship and was among the 17 top Malaysian riders shortlisted for the first GP Wildcard Programme, which eventually saw Elly Idzlianizar Ilias and Muhammad Fahmi Khairuddin flying the Jalur Gemilang at the 2009 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

This year, at the second edition of the GP wildcard programme – Malaysia had Mohd Zamri Baba performing commendably for Team PETRONAS SIC TWMR in Moto2; finishing 22nd in a field of 39 riders at the 2010 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Razlan said that efforts were also being undertaken to have a Moto2 wildcard rider at the Malaysian GP again; but pointed out that work on that subject were still in progress and that there were no firm details at the moment.

In any case, he said, the top three Malaysian riders at MSS Supersports Open Championship would be invited to test for the Moto2 wildcard programme. The three top local riders this season was Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, Mohamad Suhadi Ali Rahmat and Ahmad Fuad Baharuddin. Zamri finished sixth overall with 80 points; but only competed in two rounds.

The new MSS season would again run in five rounds with the opening round; with Round 5 and the final round for bike competitions and incorporated as support races at the Malaysian MotoGP in October.

Commenting on his programme, Farid pledged to give his best to get himself selected as the 2011 GP125 wildcard rider in Sepang next October.

“It is a personal mission of mine to secure that wildcard ticket and my preparations for the programme will start immediately. I am happy that I have full support from my family especially my father on my career choice and hopefully, everything goes well,” said Farid, who aspires to follow the footsteps of Zulfahmi into the MotoGP.

“I am delighted that we can now see the path of where to go. I would continue to work hard and naturally, will be competing again at the MSS next season,” said the 17-year old rider.

After a promising outing as a wildcard, Zulfahmi was promoted to compete in a full season under Team AirAsia SIC Racing in the GP 125 where he finished his debut season 24th overall with four world championship points.

MALAYSIAN SUPER SERIES 2010

SUPERSPORTS – JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

Final Point Standings

1. Apiwat Wongthananon (Honda CBR600) 184 pts

2. Rathaphong Wilairot (Honda CBR600) 168

3. Muhammad Farid Badrul Hisham (Kawasaki 600) 165

4. Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah (Yamaha R6) 115

5. Muhammad Syafiq Omar (Yamaha R6) 91

6. M. Gautam (Yamaha R6) 73

7. Muhamad Habibullah Salleh (Honda CBR600)

words: SIC  pix: Syafril Ismail

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