Silverstone MotoGP race gets title sponsor

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The 2010 British MotoGP race at Silverstone will be sponsored by AirAsia after a three-year deal was announced today at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezepeleta flew in to sign the contract with AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes at a snow-swept Silverstone this afternoon. 

Ezpeleta said: “We are extremely happy that the best low-cost airline has chosen MotoGP to increase its impact on both the European and world stage, and specifically in the United Kingdom. It is fantastic to go back to Silverstone for this year’s race, and to do it with a new sponsor who has shown its dedication to the promotion of new talent – by sponsoring young riders last season – and the sport in general makes it even more satisfying.” 

AirAsia’s foray into MotoGP started when the airline sponsored AirAsia Malaysia 125cc riders Elly Idzlianizar Ilias and Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddinfor as wild card entries in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, in October 2009. The duo made the team proud by being the first two wildcard riders to make it into the top 20 for the 2009 season.

Zulfahmi went on to earn the ticket to race in the FIM World Championship and will be the first ever Malaysian to compete on the world stage in the 125cc class. The 18-year-old will race for Ongetta Team I.S.P.A. and will be sponsored by AirAsia.

AirAsia Group CEO Mr Fernandes stated: “I really look forward to coming to Silverstone for the AirAsia British Grand Prix. I have to say that a few times because it sounds really good. I grew up watching MotoGP and to think that AirAsia will be a title sponsor of a MotoGP event this year is something I would not have believed would happen in my lifetime, so I’m really thrilled.

"I think this is going to be the start of a long relationship with Dorna because there is a huge amount of MotoGP fans in South East Asia. I think this will be a great partnership in making it even bigger in that part of the world. We had our first taste of MotoGP when we sponsored the entries of Elly and Zulfahmi. It was a magnificent experience.

"The boys did Malaysia proud, and we were thrilled to have helped make their dream a reality. We are proud and excited to be back in the MotoGP this year, with a bigger role by being the title sponsor of the British Grand Prix in Silverstone.”

This year’s British GP – the first at Silverstone since 1986 – will take place on June 20.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt