Sepang, 23 October 2012
Team AirAsia-SIC-Ajo rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin created history by becoming the first ever Malaysian to step foot on the World Championship podium after finishing second at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang last weekend. It was indeed the best birthday present for the youngster who turned 21 on Saturday after recording another historic feat by becoming first Malaysian an Asean rider to capture the pole position during the qualifying session.
Racing in front of his home crowd, the Moto3 rider was constantly given thundering cheers by his fans in a tremendously exhilarating race which saw him leading in the second half of the race. It was only at the last corner that Fahmi was overtaken by Sandro Cortese and the German took the chequered flag merely 0.02 seconds ahead of the local hero.
It was definitely a proud moment for AirAsia as the airline has been supporting Fahmi since his entry in the MotoGP when he was part of the AirAsia Malaysia Wildcard Program back in 2009. After exhibiting promising talents and skills, AirAsia together with Sepang International Circuit (SIC) decided to form Team AirAsia-SIC and saw Fahmi racing in his first ever full MotoGP season the following year where he finished 24th overall.
In 2011, Ajo Motorsport joined the fold to create Team AirAsia-SIC-Ajo and Fahmi grew from strength to strength, developing into a better rider and was 18th in the overall standings at the end of the season.
The 2012 season has been great for Fahmi as he has scored points in almost all the races in the calendar. With the maiden podium finish, he is currently ranked 7th in the world championship table. The season has two races left and Fahmi is raring to go and hopes to continue with his brilliant form.
AirAsia Group CEO, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said, “This is truly a triumph not only for Fahmi but also Malaysia and Asean as there has never been a rider from the region who has been on a MotoGP podium before. Fahmi is a testament of someone who dared to dream and never take no for an answer. With passion, grit and determination, in just three short years he has grown from a wildcard rider to a top three race contender in the world championship.
“AirAsia is proud to have been there for Fahmi right from the start of his MotoGP career and we will continue to support him as well as the development of youth and sports in the region to ensure that talents like Fahmi will be given a chance to grow and shine in the world stage.”
It was a double celebration for AirAsia in Sepang as the race winner Sandro Cortese who is also racing under the AirAsia banner was crowned the Moto3 category overall champion.
The next race will be the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix happening from October 26 to 28, 2012 in Philip Island before the championship heads to Europe for the final race of the season in Valencia which will take place from November 9 to 11, 2012.