Hard rockin’ MotoGP is back!

Published on July 18th, 2010

It was raining cats and dogs as we made our way to Hard Rock Cafe from Sepang International Circuit for the 20th Malaysian MotoGP launch. We would have made it on time if not for Jeo’s sexy 156 suffering from severe suspension disease. Due to that, a slow drive is inevitable. Nevertheless, we managed to arrive half an hour late but better late than not being there at all right? We arrived just in time for the press conference with Razlan Razali, the Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit.

Razlan did mentioned that despite the success of the Malaysian GP Wildcard Programme, it would be a longshot to have another Malaysian competing alongside GP125cc rider Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin at the upcoming Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit in October.

“There’s no question about us continuing the programme. It is a long term programme. Our problem for this year is simply because there’s no bike available either for us to rent or purchase for the programme,” said Razlan Razali, the Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit.

Razlan, who was joined by Ron Hogg of Two Wheels Motor Racing (TWRR), said that efforts to secure a GP125cc machine for the intended wildcard rider had been fruitless in view of plans by the series promoter to phase out the GP125cc championship.

“It’s already a known fact that Dorna would be replacing the GP125cc with the 450cc in a near future. Some say it’s happening next year; some say it will be in 2012. So, no teams is having an additional bikes with them … there’s simply no GP125cc bike available for us to rent or even to purchase,” said Ron, who was actually entrusted with the task to run this year’s wildcard programme.

On a difficult, damp Sachsenring track, the AirAsia Sepang International Circuit rider continued to impress us as he managed to score his second successive world championship point; after breaking the duck at Catalunyan Grand Prix. We managed to watch the race live from Germany after the press conference was cut short to give way for the live telecast.

The race started during a drizzle, which saw Zulfahmi charging superbly to the front; putting himself in a superb 11th position at the end of the first lap. As the track began to dry out, Zulfahmi who seemed to be on intermediate tyres, lost some of its acceleration and finished the race in 15th place.

The race was won by Spanish sensation and championship leader Marc Marques, who scored his fifth consecutive win and clearly the overwhelming favourite for the world crown this season.

“I am happy for Zulfahmi that he scored his second world championship. But, I was actually even happier yesterday to see him qualifying in 20th. For Zulfahmi, every track is a new track and every race is a learning process. Clearly, he is learning quickly and adapting very well to the competition,” said Razlan.

Ron, on the other hand, said that Zulfahmi, who was competing in the novice class at the PETRONAS Malaysian Cub Prix Championship last year,  had again proved that Malaysia has the talent to compete in the world GP.

“We know that there are better and faster riders than Zulfahmi. We have the talent here in Malaysia to be there at the world GP,” Ron added.

In his comments, AirAsia CEO, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes praised Zulfahmi for his achievement, “We are so proud of him once again.  It just goes to show how much he is learning and improving at every race; he clearly has a long way to go.  But, there are still a number of races left in the season and each track is new to him so he cannot lose his focus now.  The Malaysia race is only around the corner and there will no doubt be a lot of pressure from the Malaysian public and media; this will not compare to the amount of pressure he will put on himself so he has to concentrate on just doing his best.  But we are all there with him on this fantastic journey.  Keep it up Fahmi!,”

Getting back to the 20th Anniversary of Malaysian MotoGP, there will be various programmes being lined up for local fans including the offer of exclusive starting grid and pitwalk passes, pit garage tours as well as the chance of a lifetime to ride a two-seater Ducati with MotoGP legend Randy Mamola.

The 20th Malaysian MotoGP which is Round 15 of the world championship 2010 will be held this coming October 8th – 10th. You can join in the fun as tickets are priced as low as RM30 and can be purchased via the net at www.sepangcircuit.com or simply pick up the phone and call SIC Ticket Hotline at +603 8778 2222.

text: Hage’  pix: Johan Izham

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