SEPANG – Malaysian ace Zulfahmi Khairuddin is confident of substantially improving his lap times to seize a good position in tomorrow’s official Moto3 qualifying session in the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the world renowned Sepang International Circuit.
“I have been working closely with the team since they arrived. Today, we struggled a little in the first free practice session but by the second session, we managed to improve by almost one second to finish in 14th spot which was very satisfying for me and the team,” said the Ongetta-Airasia rider, who’s best time today was 2 minutes 15.111 seconds.
“I’m confident we can improve even more tomorrow. We have a good strategy with the tyres and can shave off another second tomorrow. We will give 200 percent effort to improve our lap time today,” vowed Zulfahmi, who will be looking for a repeat performance of his awesome race in 2012 where he finished second on the podium.
The 23-year-old Malaysian, who was yesterday named as one of the riders in the new Malaysian team in the world championship next year, said he thoroughly enjoyed the two sessions today. “I always enjoy being here and in front of home fans. I hope more fans will turn up tomorrow to support me and the other Malaysian riders so we can do well.”
Asked about the unpredictable weather conditions here, Zulfahmi admitted that he would be more comfortable in the dry. “I suppose I am more ready for dry but I do hope on Sunday, we will be racing in the dry. Whatever the conditions, we must give our best,” said Zulfahmi who is among four Malaysians competing in this year’s Moto3 category.
Team SIC-AJO rider, Hafiq Azmi was 21st in the second free practice session while wildcard entries, Ramdan Rosli (Petronas AHM Malaysia) and Hafiza Rofa (SIC-AJO) where in 28th and 29th positions respectively.
Hafiza commented later: “Today was my first day in the world championship and today was about trying my best and gaining experience. It was a chance to learn from the best riders in the world. We will try a trying a different setting and hope to do return a better result tomorrow.”
“For sure, I feel some pressure but I also feel confident. I will give it my best.”
In the Moto2 category today, Hafizh Syahrin was clearly not yet at his best but pushed himself to end up 20th in the first free practice session with his best lap time of 2:09.340.
In the second session, Hafizh was 26th. He is hoping to recover soon and be able to put up a good performance, similar to his podium finish in 2012.
“I hope to be better tomorrow. I’m targeting a top 15 in qualifying so I can be in a good place for the race on Sunday.” Unlike some riders, Hafizh says he is comfortable racing in wet conditions. “Rain or shine is fine with me, in fact rain would be a bit more of an advantage for me.”
Meanwhile, another Malaysian competing in Moto2 is Azlan Shah Kamaruddin, who is representing the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, completed the first and second free practice sessions in 31st place.
The Moto3 qualifying session will take place at 12.35pm while the Moto2 session is scheduled to start at 3.05pm.