Zulfahmi finished 19th in Motegi despite courageous effort

Published on October 3rd, 2010

Malaysian 125cc rider Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin will enter his biggest test of the season at his home Grand Prix in Sepang this Sunday; armed with three world championship points and the experience of competing in 14 world class races under his belt.

The AirAsia Sepang International Circuit rider remained with three points collected at the Grands Prix of Catalunya, Germany and Republic Czech after he finished 19th at the Japanese Grand Prix in Twin Ring Motegi despite a courageous effort and hard riding throughout the race.

After managing to put himself 29th among 32 riders in Friday’s free practice, the 18-year old rider from Banting bettered his position in qualifying to start from 27th for today’s race, which was won by Spanish teenage sensation Marc Marques.

Following Zulfahmi’s from the team’s pits in Motegi, SIC Chief Executive Officer Razlan Razali has only praises for the rider despite failing to add to his overall world championship points.

“The race brought me reminiscing Zulfahmi’s debut as wildcard rider in Sepang last year … he battled hard with the two Japanese wildcard riders. I sincerely feel that this was a commendable result after starting from 27th on the starting grid.”

“Over the weekend, Fahmi’s morale was down as he put himself at such a high quality target after a impressive 15th position in Aragon. But, I believe is psychologically stronger now after the race and are well prepared for his home race next weekend.”

“I am pleased to see Fahmi maturing every as well as he could. We should be proud and I look forward for a great 20th Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend,” said Razlan, who is the event director for the 2010 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

In the overall battle for the 125cc world crown, Marques bounced back from a disappointing race in Aragon to add another victory to his already highly impressive season.

The Red Bull Ajo Motorsport bounced back from his DNF at Aragón by taking his seventh win of the 2010 campaign in the 125cc Grand Prix of Japan, ahead of Championship leader Nico Terol and Bradley Smith.

The victory allowed him to close the gap on Championship leader Nico Terol – who finished the race in second position – to six points. It was the Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider’s seventh win of the season, which came from his ninth pole position start of the year.

Traffic at the start of the race saw Jonas Folger (Team Ongetta) and Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing) crash out through no fault of their own as a coming together of bikes affected the duo. The German youngster escaped with bruising to his left arm and Vázquez avoided injury as well, but was transferred to hospital for precautionary checks.

Sturla Fagerhaug’s (AirAsia – Sepang International Circuit Team) race was also ended early by a fall on the following lap.

Avoiding the chaos at the head of the race were Terol, Márquez, Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaró and Sandro Cortese who all settled into a leading group of five, which itself became more dispersed as the race continued.

Unfortunately for Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo) he crashed at turn 11 on the eighth lap when trying to keep pace with the pack, but managed to rejoin the race. He had lost fifth position by then however and eventually ended 12th.

With 14 of the 20 laps completed Márquez had stretched to a lead of just over two seconds ahead of Terol, with Smith (Bancaja Aspar) riding a relatively lonely race in third position. Young British rider Danny Kent, riding for the Lambretta Reparto Corse team and impressing by rising to 14th, then suffered the disappointment of crashing. It was a fate that was also experienced by home rider Tomoyoshi Koyama (Racing Team Germany) who was running in fifth when he fell with two laps to go, managing to rejoin the race but finish down in 22nd.

There were no slip ups at the front however as Márquez crossed the line 2.612s clear to narrow the gap on Championship leader Terol, who finished second, with his team-mate Smith collecting a fourth podium of the season by placing third. Espargaró (Tuenti Racing) placed fourth to maintain touch with Márquez in the overall standings, who he now trails by seven points.

Alberto Moncayo (Andalucia Cajasol) sealed an impressive fifth-placed finish for his best result to date, with Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX), Danny Webb (Andalucia Cajasol), Luis Salom (Stipa-Molenaar Racing), Adrián Martín (Team Aeroport de Castelló) and Johann Zarco (WTR San Marino Team) completing the top ten.

words & pix: SIC

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