11 February 2010
LONDON -- Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia on Wednesday became the title sponsor for the British Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) in a three-year deal starting this year.
Its chief executive officer (CEO), Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, said the British MotoGP would be held at the prestigious Silverstone circuit in June.
He, however, did not want to disclose the allocation for the sponsorship.
"I decided to sponsor the Silverstone circuit because it was a special comeback for the circuit since 1986 (last race held at the circuit), thus it was available for us to approach.
"For AirAsia, this sponsorship will bring a lot of attention from all over the world and we must admit that Malaysia is closea with England compared with other European countries," he told reporters here.
Fernandes earlier signed the agreements between AirAsia and Dorna Sports S.L. at the British Racing Drivers Club at the Silverstone circuit.
Dorna Sports S.L. CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta signed on behalf of the company which was established in 1988 as an international sports management and marketing company.
Dorna Sports S.L. has been the exclusive holder of all commercial and TV rights of the MotoGP since 1992.
The 2010 MotoGP World Championship calendars will kick off in April as the action at the Silverstone circuit is scheduled for June 18-20.
"It's a huge thing for me and it's great that we have a brand, AirAsia, from Malaysia that Dorna S.L. wants to cooperate with," he said.
Fernandes said it was a dream comes true and a big step for him because at the Sepang circuit last year two Malaysia riders representing AirAsia racing team made their debut by wildcards.
"We had our first taste when we sponsored the entries of Elly Idzlianizar Ilias and Mohd Zulfahimi Khairuddin. It was a magnificent experience.
"The boys did Malaysia proud and we were thrilled to have helped make their dream a reality. We are proud and excited to be back in the MotoGP this year, with a bigger role by being the title sponsor," he said.
Fernandes said it had always been his dreams to establish a MotoGP team from Malaysia and although it was a long journey, it is must start from now.
"Maybe five or 10 years from now we can dream to have our own Valentino Rossi (the eight-time world champion)," he added.
By Azlan Muhammad Zain