Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wildcard a permanent fixture

14 October 2009

THE Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix wildcard programme is set to be a permanent annual fixture tied to the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) organised by the Sepang International Circuit (SIC).

And it doesn't matter if the AirAsia Malaysia 125cc GP Team evolves into a full-fledged racing team on the World Motorcycle Championships, as this programme will be geared as an incentive scheme for riders racing full-framed bikes locally.

The AirAsia Malaysia team, launched on Monday, will feature Elly Idzlianizar Ilias and Modh Zulfahmi Khairuddin as wildcards in the 125cc in this year's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit on Oct 23-25.

It will be the first time since 2003 that a Malaysian rider will feature in the race.

Elly Idzlianizar Ilias (left) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin will be the Malaysian wildcards in this year’s 125cc class of the Malaysian Grand Prix.  — Pic: AIZUDDIN SAAD
Elly Idzlianizar Ilias (left) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin will be the Malaysian wildcards in this year’s 125cc class of the Malaysian Grand Prix. — Pic: AIZUDDIN SAAD


SIC chief executive officer Razlan Razali said riders from a new Supersports class of the MSS to be introduced next year will have two wildcard slots in the Malaysian Grand Prix to race for.

"The best rider under the age of 21 will ride as a wildcard in the 125cc class and the best rider above that age will get a wildcard in the new Moto 2 class," said Razlan.

The incentive scheme comes into place for next year's MSS series, from which the riders will win wildcard slots for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.

This provides a more open opportunity than the wildcard programme this year, which was based on a five-month long selection and training programme through which Elly Idzlianizar and Mohd Zulfahmi progressed.

Razlan said for next year, Zulfahmi, 18, will be retained as a wildcard entry with the same format of selection (this year) to be used to identify another rider for an extra slot.

"We expect to place Zulfahmi, who is young and with potential, in three other races on the MotoGP calendar as a wildcard next year," said Razlan.

With main sponsors AirAsia already expressing interest in supporting a long-term project that could see the team running a full season in the 125cc World Championship in three years' time, development on the local front will be addressed by this new scheme.

"We expect that by 2011, Zulfahmi will already be fully developed and ready for a full season in the 125cc World Championship," said Razlan.

"We hope to blood the wildcard winners from the 2010 MSS season in some races in the Spanish or Italian championships.


"By using the Supersports 600cc class as a platform, we will be able to develop riders who can adapt quickly to the 125cc and the new Moto 2 class bikes."

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