Zulfahmi grabs second career podium finish at Valencia GP
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Zulfahmi Khairuddin closed his breakthrough 2012 season in splendid fashion by clinching third place in a thrilling Moto3 race at the Valencia Grand Prix yesterday.
Zulfahmi rode brilliantly from 17th place on the starting grid to grab his second career podium finish with a stunning overtaking move on the final turn.
In collecting another 16 precious championship points, the AirAsia-SIC-Ajo team rider climbed to seventh in the Moto3 standings with a total haul of 128 points.
The 21-year-old from Banting earned his first career podium by finishing second in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang last month.
Zulfahmi struggled to get the right set-up in qualifying and only managed 17th fastest in the final practice session.
The race began under wet conditions and Zulfahmi went for a cautious approach at the start despite keeping close to the leading group.
He then started to pull off a series of fastest laps and with three laps to go, Zulfahmi moved behind the Red Bull KTM Ajo Racing duo of Sandro Cortese and Danny Kent.
They maintained their positions until the last turn of the final lap 14 when Kent and Zulfahmi made their daring passing moves, overtaking Cortese and Binder respectively to give the Malaysian rider a well deserved podium.
Zulfahmi, in a telephone interview from Valencia, said he had to take a cautious approach due to the wet and slippery conditions.
“I’ve never liked racing on a wet track. I was very careful at the start and just followed the leaders, I saw some riders crashing out, so I was careful until the final stages of the races.
“I took a big risk to fight with the frontrunners on the final turn but it paid dividends.
“I’m so happy to get my second podium of the year, more so after starting 17th on the grid and struggling in the practice sessions earlier.
“Many thanks to the sponsors and everybody who gave me this chance,” said Zulfahmi, who was named the Most Improved Rider for Moto3 last week.
Kent won the race in 45:5.891, crossing the finishing line just 0.056 seconds ahead of world champion Cortese and 0.114 seconds in front of Zulfahmi.
KUALA LUMPUR: With the introduction of the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT today, BMW Group Malaysia now wants to sell you scooters - maxi scooters to be exact.
It says that while both scooters are meant for city use, they are just as capable being touring bikes, ready to hit the expressway to, say Ipoh, at a moment's notice.
The scooter is a new line of products BMW is selling in Malaysia, and this comes on the heels of the 3 Series and 5 Series hybrids that were launched locally last week.
The C 650 GT (red) and C 600 Sport.
Both scooters are pitched at women and men as well, with BMW claiming the difference in riding dynamics between a BMW scooter and its bigger displacement motorcycles is minimal.
According to BMW, the rationale for bringing in the premium scooter now is that it is becoming increasingly relevant in a rapidly urbanising landscape with all the accompanying ills that it brings such as jams and lack of parking spaces.
For Asians with typically smaller build than their Western counterparts, BMW will soon be offering lower-seat versions of the scooters. The seats will be 3cm lower, it said.
The C 600 Sport is a sportier product while the C 650 GT is meant for those seeking comfort and touring ability.
BMW has designed the C 600 Sport with an emphasis on lightness and streamlined aerodynamics. On the other hand, the C 650 GT - with its big panelling parts - serve to provide better protection against the elements.
Both uses the same 647cc engine with identical performance. Top speed is 175kph, with power relayed through a CVT gearbox.
Visually, the face of the new BMW maxi scooters are distinguished by an upside down fork and two-rotor disc brake, just as on a motorcycle. The tails come with a single swing-arm with big hollow wheel axles which are typical of motorcycles from BMW Motorrad.
Featuring a 2-cylinder inline engine, the powertrain of the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT is a new design by BMW Motorrad with an output of 60bhp at 7,500rpm and a maximum torque of 66Nm at 6,000rpm.
The C 600 Sport can sprint from 0 to 100kph in 7.1s and the BMW C 650 GT in 7.5s.
The scooters are fitted with a CAN bus (controller area network) electrical system which networks the instrument cluster, ABS and engine controller as well as the electronic immobiliser and the anti-theft alarm system and tyre pressure control (RDC) which are available as optional equipment.
In addition, both feature a power socket installed in the left storage compartment. This can be used to recharge a mobile phone and is connected via Bluetooth to the BMW Motorrad communication system in the rider’s helmet, allowing for convenient and safe communications.
The instrument cluster on both presents more functions than other vehicles in its class. It presents a large and readily visible LCD display with integrated engine speed readouts as well as an analogue speedometer with BMW Design Engineers placing an emphasis on best possible legibility under all riding conditions as well the elimination of reflections on the display.
Aside from fuel levels, the instrument cluster also presents, as standard, useful details regarding the scooters oil levels, distance travelled, date and time, average fuel consumption amounts and rate, external temperatures as well as service information regarding the bike itself.
As an added boon to touring enthusiasts, the long distance capabilities of the C 650 GT is further reinforced with a spacious 60 litre storage compartment beneath the seat as well as two smallerc ompartments located along the front of the leg well.
An additional storage compartment with internal lighting is also fitted in the tail of the C 650 GT and is capable of fitting up to two helmets when stationary. In addition, bulges on either side of the maxi scooter’s tail offer additional stowage space for general utilities.
Both maxi scooters are fitted with a sizeable braking system consisting of a two-rotor disc brake at the front and a single disc brake at the rear with BMW Motorrad ABS.
They are also the first maxi scooter models by BMW to feature LED daytime running lights for better passive safety.
"All BMW Motorrad models from 2013 onwards will be fitted with ABS as a standard feature," said BMW Group Malaysia Motorrad chief Fazli Shukor.
He said the first batch of 40 units of the Berlin-made scooters are selling fast, with 25 already spoken for and the rest by tonight when prospective customers are invited to view them.
The 2013 target is to sell up to 120 units, said Fazli, adding that he was confident the BMW scooters would become commonplace on Malaysian roads by the third year.
The scooters would boost BMW Group Malaysia's bottomline, said BMW Group Malaysia managing director Dr Gerhard Pils.
Click image for specs.
The company has continued to see "remarkable growth" in 2012, with a total of 5,014 BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad vehicles delivered across Malaysia as of September, a 14% increase in sales compared to the same period in 2011, he added.
The C 600 Sport is selling at RM65,000 while the C 650 GT is going for RM68,800 (OTR without insurance).
The C 600 Sport is available in Cosmic Blue Metallic Matt, Titanium Silver Metallic and Sapphire Black Metallic; the C 650 GT comes in a choice of Sapphire Black Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic and Vermillion Red Metallic colours. Credit to The Star Online Monday, October 29, 2012