Syahrin: “We had top ten pace”

The Malaysian had another good race in France, but says a mistake at the start cost him his second top ten

Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) has settled into life in MotoGP™ well since he joined the class a bit later than most for the Buriram test. He took his first top ten result in Argentina, and barring a crash in training that hampered his Spanish GP, has been on the pace to be top rookie each weekend. Le Mans was no different and saw him back in the fight after a tough Jerez and a crash out in Texas.

Crash on training today 60kmh the speed!????

A post shared by Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah (@hafizh_syahrin) on

“I feel really good and my confidence has come back like it was normally in the first three races, just in Jerez I had crashed in training,” says Syahrin. “Thanks to the team because we worked hard from Friday, on Friday I was less confident on the front because I was still thinking about the crash in Texas but we passed that problem and we did a good job in qualifying.”

That they did, and the Malaysian was 14th on the grid, ahead of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – who was riding at the track for the first time in the premier class after missing 2017 through injury – and top rookie by some margin. Come race day, however, he says a mistake at the start held him up.

“In the race I made a big mistake at the start which was a shame, I needed to pass many riders and I was in a slower group – behind Smith, Nakagami and some other riders. Then in the middle of the race I found Morbidelli, I tried to pass him and it was difficult but I found somewhere he was slower, passed there and then tried to push and close on Pol, but it was a bit too late.”

Hafizh Syahrin, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France

In the end Syahrin pulled out nearly three seconds on Morbidelli, but couldn’t quite bridge the two-and-a-half to Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) ahead – ending the race in 12th. The Tech 3 rider says he had top ten pace, however, and that his consistency was a big positive.

“I’m happy because we were consistent in the race and I think our pace could have easily have been in the top ten, it was just at the beginning they’d already made a gap. But I keep pushing to work on my physical condition and the bike was very good so let’s see what we can do in Mugello. There, the important thing is to try and challenge Morbidelli. In his home race he’ll be very motivated but the Yamaha is good at there and I’ll try. I like it too, so I’ll try to be top rookie there again. It’ll be tough but I’ll work hard from Monday until Mugello!”

Mugello. Tuscan sun and skies and one of the most beautiful racetracks in the world – with practice beginning on Friday 1st June.