AFTER more than two months of winter break, Moto3’s official three-day testing kicked-off in Valencia on Feb 11 but for Zulfahmi Khairuddin, his testing was reduced to only one day due to the late arrival of the engine from Honda Racing Company (HRC).
According to HRC, the delay was due to bad weather in Japan during the shipment process and as a result, the cargo flight was delayed leaving Narita airport. In addition, there were also some documentation problems with the customs authority in France.
In the first two days of test, he managed to only do a few decent laps using last year’s Honda bike and engine. The new engine finally arrived on the last day of the testing, giving him an opportunity to conclude the test with a total of 72 laps.
Zulfahmi, however, is very upbeat about his new bike despite the delay. This will be Zulfahmi’s first year with Honda after switching from KTM at the end of last season and he is looking forward to riding on his new bike, with a new team.
“I’m very happy to be able to ride the new bike today after waiting for two days for the engine. With a time of 1:41.97s, which was our target for this first test, I feel very positive,” commented Zulfahmi.
“The chassis of the bike is very good but there are still lot of improvements needed, especially on the engine. We still lack in acceleration as compared to KTM but Honda and the team are working very hard to improve before the first round of the Championship in Qatar next month,” he added.
Zulfahmi’s new team Ongetta-AirAsia are also happy with the testing and looking forward for continuous improvement during the next testing in Jerez, next week.
“It was very unfortunate for us the testing had to be reduced to only one day, however, we managed to utilise the new machine for the whole day on the last day of testing. His best time of 1:41.91s, was only 2.5sec different from the best lap done by leader, Jack Miller but we are very happy with the result today,” commented Mirko Cecchini, spokesperson of Ongetta-AirAsia.
The second testing in Jerez will take place from Feb 18-20 and will be the last chance for all teams to carry out the necessary improvements before the season opens on Mar 21 in Qatar.
This season, Malaysia will be represented by 4 full season riders in the Championship. Besides Zulfahmi, Moto3 will also feature Hafiq Azmi while Hafizh Syahrin and Azlan Shah will be competing in Moto2.