Monday, September 20, 2010

Malaysia to have Moto2 wildcard rider

Sepang International Circuit is spearheading a second MotoGP Wildcard programme that will see a local rider competing in the new Moto2 class at the upcoming 2010 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix which will be held at Sepang International Circuit from 8-10 October 2010.

The collaboration between SIC, Two Wheels Motor Racing, PETRONAS and Japanese chassis provider, MORIWAKI, which came to Sepang International Circuit recently for a development test, made the entry possible for ARRC Championship Rider Mohd Zamri Baba as he had a unique experience to test the Moto2 bike earlier today at Sepang International Circuit along with his teammate Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman.

As another landmark move in Malaysian Motorsports history, SIC and its partners - TWMR, PETRONAS, Dunlop, Moto Milia, Motorsports Association of Malaysia, AAM and the Youth and Sports Ministry - brokered the inaugural GP wildcard programme last year which saw Elly Idzlianizar Ilias and Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin granted wildcard entries to compete in the 125cc at the 2009 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

SIC CEO, Razlan Razali said that the programme for next year's Moto2 GP Wildcard ticket will still continue as this year's entry is an added bonus. In the 2011 plan, SIC had offered to the top three finishers in the 600cc Supersports Championship category of the Malaysian Super Series a seat for a selected group for a final selection for the wildcard ticket in the Moto2.

Commenting after the Moto2 test earlier today, both Zamri and Azlan agreed that the Moto2 bike is ever more challenging than their Yamaha R6 bikes which they usually ride in the ARRC and the Malaysian Super Series Supersports Championship.

Introduced this year in replacement of the World 250cc category, the Moto2 GP championship runs bikes with both engines and chassis provided by a single manufacturer from the Honda Racing Corporation.

For Zamri, it was a lifelong dream that finally came through and a perfect incentive for him after his sensational performance scoring the first victory for Malaysia this season at the just concluded Round 4 of the Asian Road Racing Championship in Madras.

"It will be a fantastic and unprecedented Malaysian MotoGP come October with a local representative in the 125cc by Fahmi and now Zamri Baba in the Moto2. We expect a full support of the Malaysian motorsport fans to make the 20th edition of the Malaysian MotoGP the biggest ever", Razlan Razali added at the press conference held at Sepang earlier today.

Sepang will be hosting Round 15 of the MotoGP Championship from 8-10 October 2010, and are offering tickets from as low as RM30 for fans to enjoy top class entertainment on and off track at the 2010 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

For the local fans, it would be a rare opportunity to see their own local hero Zulfahmi and now Zamri Baba to test their skills with worlds best at home soil apart from catching the other top Malaysian riders in action at the support races.

Azlan and Kuhara double victory

Defending champion Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman kept his hopes alive in retaining the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) 600cc Supersports crown with a spectacular performance at Round 3 in Sepang yesterday with a double victory for the second successive time this season.

Azlan, who missed the opening round in April earlier this year, took a double victory at Round 2 in July, hauls the gap closer with championship leader Mohd Suhadi Ali Rahmat with just two more rounds to go for this years' season 2010.

Suhadi, on the other hand, had to settle with the double second placing who finished the race behind Azlan. The former 2009 Superstock champion added another 40 points to stay 10 points ahead of Azlan Shah in the championship standings.

Rathapong Walairot, the younger brother of Moto2 rider Rathapak Walairot who upstaged Azlan and Suhadi in the qualifying session on Saturday, topped the Junior Category, though was unable to equal the race pace of the two Malaysian riders.

Azlan who was representing the PETRONAS Sprinta Yamaha Racing, said that the championship battle was still an open affair to the rest of the riders including Thailand's Suhatchai Chaemsap and his teammate, Zamri Baba, who was missing from the round as well.

In the Superbike Championship, defending champion Yasuhiro Kuhara also managed to score a double win to add another 50-points to his total championship points as he closes in to his third MSS title. The Japanese rider for Team HKL Racing has now 145-championship points and looked strong to seal the crown at the next round during the Round 4 which will be held during the Malaysian GP as support races.

Ahmad Zamani Baharuddin managed to open up a gap of 25-points ahead of Ramon Azrem in the Superstock Championship category after a second placing in Race 1 and a winner in Race 2. Ramon, will have to perform well in the next two rounds to snatch the championship title away from Zamani when he did not finish the race in the second heat, although winning the first race.

The next round will be held as support races to the 2010 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix from 8-10 October 2010, and the final round in November.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Disappointment for Zulfahmi at San Marino

Disappointment for Zulfahmi Khairuddin as his battle for championship points in the MotoGP's 125cc category was denied after his machine faced technical problems after completing only 2-laps out of the 23-lap race at Misano yesterday.

Zulfahmi managed to rise from 28th to 20th position on the starting grid after a great performance in the qualifying session on Saturday. His target was to gain at least another championship point for the round in Misano.

He was very disappointed with the technical problem he faced with his bike when the engine came to a halt and the rear wheel jammed right after the second lap of the race.

Fahmi, who also encountered technical difficulties which ended his race early at the Indianapolis Speedway in United States last week, said that he had hoped for a better race at San Marino after a team effort in improving the bike's overall engine performance.

"My Aprilia machine looked very promising as the team improved the machine's performance", he added looking sad and disappointed with his performance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Misano Adriatico Grand Prix Preview

There will be no rest for the Fiat Yamaha as they return to Europe and Marvellous Misano despite having just finished a punishing weekend's race in the searing heat of Indianapolis.

As for the Ducati Marlboro Team, they will return home this weekend looking up to put on a good show for the local crowd at Misano and make up for a rather disappointing race last year, which Casey Stoner missed through illness whilst Nicky Hayden was taken out by another rider in the first turn.

The MotoGP riders will be back on board in less than four days time for the twelfth round of the season at Misano Adriatico on Italy's eastern seaboard. It will be another 'home' race for the Fiat Yamaha Team, as it lies just a few hundred kilometres away from their Italian base, and both championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and his team-mate Valentino Rossi will be planning on a big weekend at the Italian party town.

Misano lies just 30-kilometres away from Valentino Rossi's hometown of Tavullia, where the 31-year-old legend grew up and where he still lives today.

The Misano Adriatico circuit was built at the start of the seventies and has since undergone a series of modifications that have altered both the length as well as the layout and updates and upgrades of pit facilities and paddock. The current layout of the track which was switched from an anti-clockwise to clockwise in 2007 when MotoGP returned after 16-years of absence, looks straightforward but is far from it.

The twelfth round of 2010 season will be a race to be remembered as Rossi is hoping to give the fans a good show as it will be his last race for the Fiat Yamaha Team at his hometown circuit.

"Of course it's my home race and it's near my house so it's always very special to race there, in front of all my fans. I have won there the last two years but this year we come in slightly different circumstances. Still, we will be trying our hardest and I really hope I can give the fans a good show", Valentino Rossi.

Valentino Rossi still holds the lap record at Misano which he set in 2009 on his Fiat Yamaha with a best time of 1 minute 34.746 seconds.

In 2009, Valentino Rossi won the MotoGP race with a total time of 44 minutes 32.882 seconds with Jorge Lorenzo coming in second, just 2.416 seconds behind Rossi and Dani Pedrosa completing the top three finishers 12.400 seconds behind Rossi.