Zulfahmi Khairuddin visits Barcelona

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Ahead of this weekend’s sixth round of the Moto3™ World Championship at the Circuit de Catalunya, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin looks ahead to the action with a trip to the iconic Parc Guell in Barcelona.

Do you like the travel involved in Grand Prix racing? Do you get a chance to familiarise yourself with the places you go to?

The truth is that during the season we don’t have much time to get away. At most you have a day to see the city where a Grand Prix is held sometimes, but that’s not the norm. You get used to spending all day at the circuit. It is a pity because I really like to visit new countries, try their typical food and meet people from around the world.

You spent a year in Europe in 2010. What was that experience like and why did you choose to go back to Malaysia?

The experience of 2010, living in Italy, was very good and important for me. It was my first year in Europe and I didn't know many people, nor was I familiar with the food - very important (!) - or the weather. It was a little difficult, especially during the first three months, because I was not used to everything around me. I especially struggled with the cold and the food. After the first few months, I got used to it and finally felt good and learned a lot from the people around me. For the past two years I have lived in Malaysia. It's better for me to live there because I like to go home, to see my family and my friends. Moreover, the weather in Malaysia is always good. As is normal, I guess, there is nowhere else where I feel so comfortable.

If you had to spend time away from Malaysia, where would you like to go?

Barcelona, which is a city that I like a lot. Many of my team members live there and I love it.

Many of your colleagues are Spanish and a big part of your pre-season is spent in Spain. What do you like about the country?

The beach, the city, the people... this country has many good circuits and racing is very popular here.

Is it true that you can sleep very easily on things like plane journeys?

It’s true.; I have the ability to sleep anytime, anywhere. I need only five minutes to fall asleep! Last year, noticing this, the team gave me a cushion!

More and more Malaysians are becoming MotoGP fans every year. Do you think we will see more Malaysian riders in the World Championship in the future?

I hope so, but it is difficult to find riders who can make the leap up because there is so much talent at World Championship level. Nevertheless, I think that the Sepang Circuit and the people involved there are doing a very good job. There are some very talented riders in my country.

Last year you took your first podium at Sepang. What do you remember about that?

It was a Grand Prix that I will never forget: my first podium in Moto3! I felt bad about not being able to win in front of all the fans, but the experience helped and next time I will shut the door tighter at the last corner.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I don’t know; for me, to be in the World Championship is already a dream come true. Few riders know what they will be doing in five years’ time. I would like to be able to one day ride in MotoGP. It is very difficult but I will work hard for it.

Final question: If you weren’t a rider, what would you have liked to be?

Something to do with bikes, as I love this world. So I would have liked to be a mechanic or engineer.

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