Zulfahmi Khairuddin made his full season debut in 2010 and became only the second rider from Malaysia to compete in the World Motorcycle Championship after Shahrol Yuzy.
PETALING JAYA: The heat is on, and Moto3 rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin is definitely feeling it as he gets ready for the European rounds of the FIM World Motorcycle Championship starting with Jerez in Spain this weekend.
Zulfahmi is the most experienced among the four Malaysian riders on the grid but he has not been able to translate that into the desired results.
He enjoyed some respite from his troubled season with his first point of the season in the Grand Prix of Argentina last Sunday but Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali wants Zulfahmi to move up a gear from now.
Zulfahmi, riding a Honda bike for Ongetta-AirAsia, crossed the finish line in 15th spot with younger compatriot Amirul Hafiq Mohd Azmi of the SIC-Ajo team trailing in 16th.
It was also the 17-year-old Amirul’s best finish thus far in his first full season on the world stage.
Malaysia are also represented by Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah in Moto2 but the pressure is certainly on Zulfahmi to impress starting from the fourth of the 18-round championship in Jerez.
“Three races have gone by (Qatar, United States and Argentina) and Zulfahmi has picked up one point but honestly, it’s not good enough for a rider as experienced as him.
“He has been struggling with his Honda machine in pre-season testing and also the first two races.
“There is something wrong and he has got to open up so that we can help him.
“We can say he is probably getting used to the Honda bike for the first time this year but there should be no excuse when the European races start as this is already his fifth year in Moto3.
“Zulfahmi has to start performing and break into the top 10, otherwise, how are the sponsors going to have faith to continue with him next year?” said Razlan.
The Banting-born rider made his full season debut in 2010 and became only the second rider from Malaysia to compete in the World Motorcycle Championship after Shahrol Yuzy.
It was towards the end of the 2012 season that Zulfahmi shone brightest on the world stage with two podiums (at Sepang and Valencia) and one pole position (at Sepang) en route to seventh in the overall standings.
But he has not come close to reliving those glory days since then.
|Zulfahmi Khairuddin: The stats