Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix: Three days of two-wheel splendour!

Published on October 12th, 2010

I have been an avid follower of the MotoGP ever since I was small, way back before I even enrolled to the kindergarten.  I can still remember the time when I would sit by my dad’s lap enjoying hot Milo courtesy of my mum while watching the race in the middle of the night.

At this time Freddie Spencer was the one who dominated the race and in 1983 he became the youngest rider to win the 500cc world championship on a two-stroke  NS500 Honda.

Over the years, I managed to own four bikes… most of it through illegal means and I can still remember clearly during college years, I kissed the tarmac and totaled my bike just because the day before I watched Max Biaggi and my balls got way bigger than my brain and tried to be him. All three bikes were totaled while another impounded thanks to being stupid and reckless in my younger days.

All these years, never once I had the opportunity to attend any of the races held in Malaysia, be it the legendary and now flat-landed to make way to elite housing area Batu Tiga Shah Alam Circuit (BTSC), Pasir Gudang and the renowned Sepang International Circuit.

Nevertheless, thanks to a number of people, I get to attend my first-ever Malaysian MotoGP 2010, which was also the 20th Anniversary of the Malaysian GP. Thousand of thanks even when for the first time I became a spectator instead of a member of the media. So not to waste the opportunity, early Friday morning and without a sip of much-needed Nescafe Tarik… Geck, my fiancée and I sped off to Sepang International Circuit to watch the practice session.

We barely made it for the public pitlane walk to watch ‘em riders and their machines up close and not-that-personal as there were steel barriers separating us from ‘em.  That and the hoards of fans armed with cameras, fighting for the opportunity to catch a glimpse of their idols.

After a frequent rear slides before entering the corners of Sepang Circuit, the JiR Moto2 rider, Alex de Angelis led the pack of Moto2 while Marc Marquez of Red Bull Ajo Motorsport dominated the track during the practice session on Friday. As expected, The Doctor led the pack in MotoGP.

Saturday proved to be quite a test of patience as the parking space was getting a bit more occupied compared to the day before. Nevertheless, it was not a hassle to find a good spot hence reducing the length of walk we had to do towards the grandstand.

It was qualifying for all three classes and as there are two Malaysian riders both in 125cc and the Moto2, my attention was more towards them instead of others. To my dismay, Zulfahmi Khairuddin of Team AirAsia Sepang International Circuit Racing and Zamri Baba of PETRONAS SIC TWMR crashed out during the qualifying, which resulted both of them to start from 22nd and 31st position.

It was a day for the Spaniards as in the 125cc, Marc Marquez proved his dominance, Julian Simon of Mapfre Aspar Team conquered the Moto2 while Jorge Lorenzo of Fiat Yamaha Team sped his way for the top spot as the three of us all drenched in sweat and managed to shed few kilos before heading back to the office to get the website up and running.

Somehow fatigue managed to make me overslept and almost late for the flag off at the Two-Wheel Garage in Glenmarie, Shah Alam as quite a feat of riders will be riding off to Sepang Circuit for the race. Right after a hearty breakfast thanks to Two Wheel Garage, the riders sped off at 11.00am and left us gawking before getting in the car praying that what we expected not to happen, only to learn that… never ever arrived later than 10.00am or be sure to be stucked in a blardy jam, being told that the parking was full and you can’t enter unless you’re the prime minister himself! Somehow we managed to sneak in and parked the cars as near as possible before walking towards the grandstand.

It was total chaos at the entrance, a group of rowdy rempiters cut the never-ending queue and squeezed themselves in front of me. Their utter stupidity and the essence of being selfish bastards amazed me! Never have I seen this kinda behaviour except at the bus stops and stations.

Sepang International Circuit was abuzz with activities. If only local races such as the MMER, MSS and AFOS get this kinda reception. It would be fantastic for the organizer, sponsors and the venue itself. Malaysians need more exposure on motorsports and maybe one day, such events will be as big or bigger than Jom Heboh!

I can’t seemed to concentrate on the 125cc as there were almost next to no space to even stand and watch the race! 18 laps later, Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider; Marc Marquez proved his prowess above the rest and secured the top spot followed by the other Spaniards, Pol Espagaro of Tuenti Racing and Nicolas Terol of Bancaja Aspar Team. Our very own rider, Zulfahmi Khairuddin of Team AirAsia Sepang International Circuit Racing almost scored another point as he managed to be the 16th rider to finish the race.

Moto2 was quite a thrill as another Malaysian, Zamri Baba of PETRONAS SIC TWMR proved his worth and display an amazing feat at his debut to catch up from 31st spot, losing it to 35th spot on the third lap and speeding his way all to finish in the 22nd spot despite having limited time to get acquainted with the machine. Italian rider, Roberto Rolfo of Italtrans S.T.R. managed to bag himself the top spot followed by Alex de Angelis of RSM JIR Moto2 and Andrea Iannone of Fimmco Speed Up completed the podium. Crowd favourite in the Moto2 class, Toni Elias bagged the fourth spot.

MotoGP gave the crowd all the spills and thrills as it was a battle between Jorge Lorenzo of Fiat Yamaha Team , Andrea Dovizioso of Repsol Honda Team and Casey Stoner of Ducati Team in the first lap  ended with Casey Stoner crashed out of the race. Rossi who started from the 6th spot showed the crowd why he’s The Doctor by pulling away from others to join the leading pack and battle it out with Dovizioso and team mate Lorenzo. It was 20 laps of skills and prowess before Rossi made the crowd ecstatic followed by Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, the new reigning MotoGP Champion of 2010.

From the moment The Doctor started to join the battle for first all the way to him crossing the finish line with Dovizioso hot on his back, the crowd continued to cheer everytime he passes by. He even stopped in front of F Grandstand to have a hugging session with his yellow friends.

It was a three day well-spent for us at Trafficmagonline. Surely we’ll be joining the fun in the next coming years of Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. For those who have yet experienced it, you just gotta be there to know it. Believe me… you’ll love it despite the weather and being all sweaty and smelly all the way home.

words: Hage’  pix: Syafril Ismail, Al-Mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad, Yaya & Amirul Shaqim

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