National Moto2 and Moto3 riders Zaqhwan Zaidi and Zulfahmi Khairuddin spends CNY with on-track pre-season testing.
For many Malaysians (us in the BikesRepublic.com team included!), the recent Chinese New Year (CNY) festivities was quite the well deserved break.However, for riders Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Zaqhwan Zaidi, it was a crucial time for the duo as they got underway with their pre-season racing preparations.
Both Zulfahmi and Zaqhwan recently spent a few days at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) with their respective teams, performing their first shakedowns and tests ahead of the upcoming 2015 Moto3 and Moto2 racing season.
Zulfahmi, under the watchful eyes and guidance of his new team boss, Johan ‘Stiggy’ Stigefelt, took to the black top of SIC with his new 2015 KTM Moto3 machine. Joining alongside him during the three-day affair was his SIC Moto3 Racing Team teammate Jakub Kornfeil.
When we visited the team during their test session last week, things for the new SIC-backed outfit looked promising. However, the pressure is on for Zulfahmi as 2015 looks set at becoming a ‘make or break’ season for him.
In the neighbouring garage, Zulfahmi’s fellow countryman Zaqhwan faces a whole new kind of challenge altogether. The reigning Cub Prix, Asia Road Racing, and Malaysian Super Series Bikes ace joins the newly established JPMoto Moto2 team that is owned and backed by veteran Malaysian motorsports firm JPM Motorsports.
This marks a turning point for Zaqhwan, who has set his focus solely towards his new Moto2 competition campaign with the JPMoto team’s Suter Moto2 race machine.
This marks Zaqhwan’s first full-season entry into Moto2, making him the third Malaysian on the Moto2 grid after Petronas Raceline’s Hafizh Syahrin and Idemitsu Honda’s Azlan Shah.
While JPMoto’s top-tier management remained modest when asked about their expectations for the upcoming racing season, Zaqhwan clearly has got his hands and mind full. Despite the challenges and pressure, it does little at impeding Zaqhwan from climbing on the JPMoto team’s Suter race bike around Sepang last week, gaining some precious track time to familiarize himself with his new racing machine.
We’ve spoken with Zaqhwan previously during his weekend as a wildcard entry in the World Supersport Championship race held during last year’s Malaysian leg of WSBK. Despite being no stranger to Moto2 (Zaqhwan has previously wildcarded for Moto2 in the Malaysian MotoGP), Zaqhwan did explain the difficulties he faced when adapting from a production-based machine to a purpose-built prototype.
Rest assured though that Zaqhwan will be one rider for all Malaysian racing fans to look out for as soon as the season starts in Qatar in March. Check out our official BikesRepublic Facebook page for more exclusive photos from our recent visit to Sepang with the SIC Moto3 and JPMoto teams.