The Red Bull KTM team is following the trail blazed by the Repsol Media Service by supplying press release interviews with their riders. Today is the turn of young Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who is racing in Moto3 with the Red Bull KTM team. Khairuddin has been making steady progress since ascending to the Grand Prix paddock, impressing many in 2012 by scoring a pole position and two podiums, his first podium coming at Sepang in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
Khairuddin is at the forefront of a move eastward for motorcycle racing, with increasing numbers of riders entering the series from the region. In the interview, the young Malaysian addressed the growing popularity of motorcycle racing in Southeast Asia, and talks about the challenges he faces coming from the region, among other subjects. A glimpse into the future, perhaps?
Below is the interview, issued as a press release:
"Malaysian people are starting to watch all the races on TV, even the rounds shown in the early hours.”
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Malaysia rider preparing for fourth World Championship season.
After the recent test at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain, Zulfahmi Khairuddin is excited about the upcoming season in Moto3. The young Malaysian rider is working hard alongside teammates Luis Salom and Arthur Sissis, working towards being in the best possible shape for the Qatar Grand Prix.
Are you nervous about the start of the season?
"I can’t wait to start. To be honest, this year the bike has quite surprised me, because it has improved a lot compared to last year. Anyway, there's always plenty to do before the season gets underway."
This will be your fourth season. What is your aim?
"I hope to finish all the races this year and fight for a final position that is better than last year’s."
What are the differences between the KTM this year and that from last year?
"It's a bike that is much improved. Weight is one of the notable differences this year. It is much lighter now, and we have a new chassis. But I think that there is still a lot of work to do before the season starts."
Are there many motorcycle fans in Malaysia?
"Absolutely. Now, in Malaysia, there are many people who have begun to follow the World Championship, especially Moto3. Each year we have more spectators attending the Malaysian Grand Prix -this year I hope even more come than last year. People are starting to watch every race on television, including races like the United States rounds -which are always on in the early hours of the morning. In my house, my family and all my friends are even watching testing."
Do you think you can be a role model for Malaysian riders?
"It’s hard to tell, but I think that the Malays are very talented riders and a great opportunity to get to the World Championship. At the moment I am the only one who competes in Grands Prix. I'm not sure they all know who I am, but I think they're proud of me there."
How would you describe your teammates, Luis Salom and Arthur Sissis?
"My teammates are very normal people. We always joke together and I try to learn from them. During training we work together and help each other."
Do you like having to travel around the world?
"To tell the truth, I love this job and I love travelling. I can see many countries with very different cultures and meet different people. For me it is a very good experience."
How have you been handling flying for so many hours over the year?
"For me it's simple, because I fall asleep easily when I fly -even when it is only an hour’s journey. So I have no problem with planes, but I have spent many hours in them."
Have you thought about moving to live in Europe, as your teammate Sissis has done?
"I was living in Italy in 2010 and it was a good experience, but I prefer to stay in Malaysia, at home, rather than settling in Europe again. I like being with my family and friends, so I prefer to spend as much time as I can in my country."
Which is your favorite track?
"Definitely Sepang. It is a circuit I know very well, where I have developed as a rider, and I have good memories of it. I managed podium there last year. It was my first podium in the World Championship and I did it in front of my home crowd."
Who is your favourite rider?
"There are two favourite riders of mine: Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner."