Malaysia making its mark at British MOTOGP

Published on June 19th, 2010

Malaysia’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin joins MotoGP stars Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden to launch the AirAsia British Grand Prix at the sacred Lord’s Cricket Ground in London yesterday; promoting the AirAsia-Sepang International Circuit riders to international prominence.

Indeed, it would have been improbable to think of in the first place but the sight of Zulfahmi batting with the likes of MotoGP stars Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden at the famed Lord’s Cricket Ground was another memorable day for the Banting-born rider.

“This is indeed a memorable day for me,” said Zulfahmi, who was joined by his GP125cc rivals Bradley Smith and Danny Webb and Moto2 rider Scott Reading.

It was just another way of Air Asia Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes’s way of boosting up the country’s profile and promoting his business concerns at the same time. A smiling Tony, who watched from the sidelines as the riders get to grips with the traditional English sport, said it was a timely move for him when he signed up a three-year sponsorship deal for the British GP with Dorna.

Silverstone will again host a world motorcycle championship race after a lapse of 23 years.


“It is big honour for a Malaysian company to be signed on as title sponsors of this event. It is the growing interest in the Air Asia brand that has made this possible. We started to get involved in MotoGP when we sponsored two of our riders in the Malaysian GP last year. I was impressed by what I saw and I had no hesitation in giving Zulfahmi a chance to shine on the full circuit this year.”

“Europe is still the biggest ground for motor-racing and this will also help Zulfahmi at the same time. It gives him more prominence and help boost his confidence in dealing with the press. Otherwise, he is just another rider. Great Britian is a top destination for our low cost carrier and we expect the market to grow,” said Tony, who played host to a group of media people from the region for the weekend.

Tony, who is also the team principal of Lotus Racing, also said he has no plans to branch out into other forms of sport at the moment.

“We are happy to be where we are now. There is no point in spreading it too thin. We are committed to making progress with our involvement in Formula 1 and MotoGP. We have to start to build a platform somewhere as one is not just born and seven months later becomes a world champion. In Formula 1, I’ve said that we want to be the best of the new teams and we have consistently reached this goal so far. It’s the same in MotoGP as we also hope to help launch the careers of new riders from this region with what we are doing one day.”

text & pix: AirAsia SIC


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