Khairul Idham Pawi may have had a tough Moto2™ season last year, after sustaining a hand injury in Jerez that then required further surgeries later in the year, but in 2020 he returns to the lightweight category where he’s already racked up some impressive stats.
‘KIP’ became the first Malaysian rider to win a Moto3™ race at a wet Termas de Rio Hondo in 2016 before again proving his exceptional wet weather form later that season, when he lined up 20th on the German Grand Prix grid and charged through to cross the line over 11 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
With the Petronas Sprinta Racing unveil and 2020 season fast approaching, the team caught up with ‘KIP’ to find out what he’s been up to and his thoughts on returning to Moto3™.
What have you been doing during this winter break?
“I’ve been training by riding motorbikes as well as cycling and in the gym and a little bit of running for general fitness. I wanted to improve my feeling with a motorbike again after a long rest and recovery for me. I had also some relaxation in Langkawi, so it’s been a busy time.
How is your finger and your recovery?
“I am training with the bike and at the moment everything is good. My finger is also in good shape and is not a problem for my riding.”
When and why did you decide to return to the Moto3™ category?
“I was considering a return to Moto3™ for a long time because I only had one year there, but I was able to get good results. Moto2™ started with promise last year, but the injury and then the recovery meant that a return to Moto3 looked like a good option.”
How was your first test back in November with the Moto3™ bike?
“With the Moto3™ test in Jerez, the feeling was good and coming back step-by-step after a long time of not riding the bike. It was a long time staying at home. Of course, I was not at 100% immediately and I needed to improve. The weather was not so good at the end of last year so I am looking forward to getting back out there in in February.”
Moving back to the Moto3™ bike, do you feel more comfortable with that than the Moto2™ machine? How different is the Honda bike compared with the Kalex?
“Of course, the Moto2™ and the Moto3™ bike are very different! The power, the speed in the corners, the braking points – these are all very different, and this is added to the challenge of my recovery and return too.”
You have a new team-mate in John McPhee, what’s that like?
“John helped me a lot on track last time at the test in Jerez. He gave a good insight to the data and also showed me some good lines – I was really happy that he did this and it shows he’s a true team player.”
You were the first Malaysian to win a World Championship race, going back to Moto3™ in 2020 what are you expecting to achieve?
“For this season, I want to target to stay within the top five and of course I want to visit the podium! I want to increase my feeling on the bike and improve quickly. I know the team and John will help me a lot and I want to get some good results for them.”
Catch Pawi in testing action at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto on 19-21 February.