'I have waited for so long and now my dreams will become a reality' Home-grown Cheung Wai-on will make history next month when he becomes Hong Kong's first rider to compete in the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix 125cc event in Shanghai. The 23-year-old 'On-Jai' has been given a wild-card to compete in the China leg of the championship on May 1 at the Shanghai International Circuit, which also features the blue-riband MotoGP and was the scene of last September's historic Formula One race. 'I'm absolutely delighted that I have been given a chance to compete against many of the best riders in the world in such a big event,' said Cheung, who grabbed one of five wild-card spots given by the Chinese Motorsports Federation and FIM (International Motorcycling Federation). 'I have a chance to shine in front of tens of thousands of fans and it will be the opportunity for me to race at the highest level. It's something I have waited for, for so long and now my dreams of racing in this event will become a reality.' Without doubt the best Hong Kong rider for the past eight years, the one-time teenage prodigy will race for Finnish team AJO Motorsport, who have top 125cc riders Andrea Ballerini of Italy and Japanese racer Masao Azuma in their stable. Ballerini's and Azuma's claims to fame emanate from the 2003 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, where they finished one-two in the race. 'We know Cheung Wai-on is a good rider,' said Zhan Guojun, vice president of Federation of Automobile Sports of China. 'He definitely has talent. He has always done well in the 125cc races in China and last year he was the domestic champion,' Cheung, a mechanic by profession, added: 'It's really exciting to have top teammates like those two. I am sure I will learn something from them. I must thank a lot of people for helping me get a wildcard to compete in Shanghai. 'I wish I had been given a wildcard a bit earlier because it's going to be tough for me to find sponsorship and to properly prepare for the race. Although I will be given a much better and more competitive racing machine, I won't have much of a chance to practise on it. I think I will have two days tops, so the pressure is really on me to perform. 'I know I have been given this chance and that I must make the most of the opportunity. But it won't be easy trying to get everything ready in just a few days. The competition is going to be really hot and it's going to be extremely difficult trying to qualify for the race,' said Cheung. 'I had bad luck at Suzuka when I raced in the pre-qualifying rounds two years ago. It rained and I couldn't post any fast times. But now I will be entering the championship round without having to qualify thanks to the wild-card. It's a big step for me. Hopefully, I will be ready.' Riders must be within seven per cent of the fastest time on the grid to qualify, meaning Cheung cannot be slower than eight to 10 seconds off the pace. 'The bike I will be on will be racing in the first round of the championship in Spain [Jerez, this weekend], so I won't actually be on the new bike until Shanghai. But physically, I am well prepared. My fitness is there. I knew this chance would come to me but I wish it had come a bit sooner,' said Cheung. 'I raced at the Shanghai circuit just recently and I believe the track suits my style and racing. I like it. It's not an easy circuit to master.'