PETALING JAYA: Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman’s inclusion in the Moto2 World Championship by Honda Team Asia is another milestone for the Malaysian motorcycling fraternity.
The 29-year-old will now be a regular feature in Moto2, starting with the San Marino Grand Prix on Sept 15.
Shahrol Yuzy was the first Malaysian rider to compete in the world stage. He participated in three full seasons from 2000-2002 in the 250cc class with Petronas Sprinta Team TVK.
There was a long gap before current Moto3 rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) came into the picture when he started competing in the 125cc class in 2010.
Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah almost created history in his participation as a wild-card entrant in the Malaysian Grand Prix last year. He finished a creditable fourth in the Moto2.
He now races in the Moto2 class in the Spanish National Championships, where he is currently third overall.
All four riders have one thing in common – they all came from racing in the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championships (ARRC).
“The roads to the world championships are many and varied. There is certainly no right or wrong in this matter. It is just a question of opportunities,” said Ron Hogg, director of Two Wheels Motor Racing, the race promoter for the ARRC.
“Currently, with the exception of the Japanese riders in the Moto2 class, all the other Asian riders such as Thitipong Warokorn (Thailand), Doni Tata Pradita, Rafid Topan Sucipto (both Indonesia) and Hafizh were products of the ARRC.
“The ARRC must be allowed to flourish and the development of the current batch of hopefuls must be managed correctly,” he added.
On Azlan’s forway into the Moto2 class, Ron said: “He needs more guidance and support than ever. Expectations for Azlan must be managed correctly. We celebrate our riders during good times, but it is when times are bad that they need our support even more.”