A wet qualifying session didn’t go according to plan for Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) on Saturday but on Sunday at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, the story was a whole lot different.
Syahrin talks about the rookies fight with Morbidelli
It was a huge weekend for the Malaysian and Malaysia in general, as Syahrin became the first rider from said nation to compete in the premier class. The sun shone at Sepang on race day and with it came a shining performance from the rookie. Going from last on the grid to P12 on the opening lap was better than anyone could have imagined, and from there Syahrin never looked back. The number 55 rider would eventually take the chequered flag in an emotional P10 to the delight of the adoring home fans, his team and Syahrin himself:
“We did the best job in my career in MotoGP™,” said a jubilant Syahrin, this being the third top ten of his rookie season. “It wasn’t easy for me to finish in the top ten, I didn’t expect this,” continued the Malaysian. “I felt really down on Saturday because I qualified last. The first day we arrived here I was in the top 10, but it was impossible to do a good job in qualifying. I took motivation from Adam (Norrodin) because he started last (in the Moto3™ race) and I felt emotional in the pitlane and I saw Adam coming from behind, to the front, but it’s a pity for him because he crashed from a good position.”
Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix: MotoGP™ Full Race
It was a phenomenal performance and one that came in front of 103,000 passionate Malaysian fans, with the 2017 Malaysian GP also being awarded last season's Grand Prix of the year. An incredible attendance figure that Syahrin goes on to more than appreciate: “I felt the support from the grandstands when Adam raced and when I raced, so I want to say thank you to all the fans that cheered our names. That gave me motivation… I want to say thank you to everyone for coming here,” said the 24-year-old, who goes on to say a special mention to his father: “My family; my father especially. I saw him from outside the gate crying, and I was crying on the grid, then I went to him and hugged him. So, I just did my best in the race. Then I want to say thank you to my crew for always believing in me, for always giving me motivation. In the end we did a good job.”
So, what about the race itself? Syahrin gives his viewpoint on his stunning comeback: “It was a good start… an amazing start, that I didn’t expect to go so fast, to arrive in P12, P11. I tried to stay with them, tried to understand, tried to work as hard as possible, give everything. Then, at the end of the race, I finished tenth. That’s what I wanted, it was my target to my home GP, so thanks to everyone for coming here.”
A P10 meant he closed the gap to ‘Rookie of the Year’ rival Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with the Italian finishing P12. 10 points is the gap in the latter's favour, so it’s a tough ask for the Tech 3 rider – but he’ll give it his all in Valencia: “It will be tough for me to be the first rookie in Valencia, but anything can happen. It might happen. I’ll try my best, but I just want to give my best to my team and Yamaha before we leave for KTM next year. I don’t want to think about it too much because 10 points is quite safe for Morbidelli. I’ll just do my best.”
GoPro™: A day in the life of Hafizh Syahrin
We'll find out who will take ‘Rookie of the Year’ honours at the final round of the year in Valencia but no matter what, Syahrin can be proud of his debut premier class season.
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