Malaysian Grand Prix looks good with Rossi and Fahmi

Published on June 22nd, 2010

The 20th edition of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, which will be held in October as Round 15 of the MotoGP World Championship, looks set to record another high spectator-attendance with nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi and local hero Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin as the crowd puller. With Rossi, who is currently out of action with a broken leg, expected to return in action way before the Malaysian GP, the presence of the flamboyant Italian would indeed be a strong trump card for race promoters Sepang International Circuit to selling their event.

Paddock talks at Silverstone were generally in unison that Rossi, who was absent for second successive race at British Grand Prix after his accident in Mugello, would be returning into action at Brno for Round 10 of the world championship.

“Rossi will be back in Brno,” said Gigi Soldano – a permanent MotoGP lensman and the personal photographer to Rossi. Other Italians journalists at the Media Centre also gave the same answer though his Fiat Yamaha Racing Team has yet to give a definite date for the return of Rossi.


More than 59,000 spectators attended the Sepang race last year to witness Rossi celebrating his ninth world title where the Italian was presented by his fans with a chicken and a golden egg, bearing number 9 to mark his ninth world title. It was the biggest Race Day attendance in the 19th year history of the Malaysian Grand Prix, which traced back to 1991. SIC can also expect Zulfahmi of Malaysia’s AirAsia Sepang International Circuit Racing Team to help to pull the crowd as well; with the 18-year old rider expected to be stronger when the 125cc world championship moves to Sepang.

“I strongly believed that Zulfahmi would already have the experience to challenge for world championship points at the race in Sepang. I have full confidence in the young lad,” said AirAsia chief Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes when asked on his views for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. His views were shared by his mentor and former GP250cc Shahrol Yuzy Ahmad Zaini, who said that with more races, Zulfahmi would know his Aprilia bike better and his skills would grow stronger with more rounds being competed.

At Silverstone, AirAsia was already promoting the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix offering all-paid expenses to attend the Malaysian GP for two winners in a contest held for fans attending the British Grand Prix race, which had the low cost airline carrier as the title sponsor.


At last year’s race in Sepang, Malaysia had for the first time since 2002 local riders on the starting grid with Zulfahmi and Elly Idzlianizar Ilias representing a Malaysian initiative that were supported by the Youth and Sports Ministry, AirAsia, Sepang International Circuit, PETRONAS, Dunlop and Two Wheels Motor Racing.

Along with the Rossi factor, the wildcard programme had been identified as the key factor in pulling the crowd last year as spectators were seen with banners, placards and T-shirts bearing images of the two riders in showing their support. Fahmi, who was forced to retire at the British Grand Prix with mechanical problems, said he was already looking forward to the race in Sepang, which he believed that his knowledge of the track and local support would spur him to the best finish of the season.

Met at Silverstone, Fahmi’s father Khairuddin Weji said the his supporters back home at Kampung Bukit Canggang in Banting had already made plans to organize convoys to Sepang Circuit for the Malaysian leg.

“I can only say that it would be a big convoy from Banting to Sepang. The response so far has been overwhelming. We would be making special T-shirts bearing his number #63 as well, banners and flags to show our support,” said Khairuddin.

text & pix:  SIC


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