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Saturday, August 1, 2015
The future looks bleak for Moto3 rider Zulfahmi, Biaggi scorches Sepang
Zulfahmi may have to give up his spot in the Moto3 world championship as early as the next round in Indianapolis, United States.
SEPANG: The fate of Moto3 rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin was the main talking point in the paddock as two-time world champion Max Biaggi set the early pace in practice in the Malaysian round of the FIM Superbike World Championship at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC).
The future is looking bleak for Zulfahmi, as he will probably not continue with Drive M7 SIC Racing Team beyond this season.
There’s also a possibility that Zulfahmi may have to give way to a replacement rider as early as next weekend – when the Moto3 season resumes with the Indianapolis Grand Prix in the United States.
SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali met briefly with Zulfahmi and team manager Johan Stigefelt on Friday to discuss the rider’s future direction.
There was no decision made but, judging by the comments made by Razlan, it does not bode well for the 23-year-old from Banting.
“I don’t see the fire Zulfhami had in his eyes when he first rode as a wildcard in 2009,” said Razlan.
“We have not made any decision yet. There wasn’t much time to discuss further with Zulfahmi and I also want to hear more from the management side. We may come to a decision tomorrow.”
Zulfahmi, who has competed in Moto3 since the class started in 2012, has struggled in the first nine races this year – picking up only two points so far.
Biaggi has had four podium finishes at Sepang during his 250cc and MotoGP career. - S. S KANESAN / The Star
As for Friday’s practice session, it was wildcard rider Biaggi who topped the timesheets in the 10th round of the championship. The Italian clocked 2:04.823 to be fastest ahead of British pair Chaz Davies and championship leader Jonathan Rea.
The 44-year-old Biaggi made a return at Misano last month and made the most of his second wildcard appearance by hitting the front before it rained.
Biaggi feels that he could have gone faster if the track had been dry the whole afternoon.
“That's what happens here in this part of the world in August. Lots of rain and within a couple minutes everything is wet ... and that's what happened in free practice two. I made just one or two laps to check the wet settings as it’s been a while since I rode in the wet. It was good information in case we need to go out with a wet setting on Sunday,” said Biaggi.