HAFIZH CONTINUES TO BREAK RECORDS
Best Moto2 Wildcard Result Ever Going From 27th To 4th
21 October 201
after Zulfahmi Khairuddin's first podium celebration at the Sepang
International Circuit, another Cub Prix wonderkid gave the packed
grandstand plenty to shout about as wildcard rider Hafizh Syahrin
Abdullah stunned even jaded industry observers with an unbelievable
ride that propelled him from 27th on the starting grid to fourth at the
finish line of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
downpour immediately after the chequered flag came down for the Moto3
class delayed the start of the Moto2 race by half an hour. As the
riders lined up on the starting grid, Race Direction had already
declared it as a wet race although the rain had eased off to a heavy
drizle. Hafizh got off to a perfect start as the lights went off and
had rocketed to fourteenth position by the third sector of the first
lap. From there, the young rider-on-a-mission mounted a relentless
campaign to improve his race position, going from fourteenth in Lap 1
to twelfth in Lap 2, climbing up to eighth in Lap 4. By Lap 5, Hafizh
was already mixing it up with the leading group.
Rain on Lap 8
created the exact conditions that the rider nicknamed 'Pescao' meaning
'Little Fish' had been hoping for. An amazing trio of overtakes saw the
young wildcard unknown pushing past Anthony West, weaving past Alex De
Angelis and then out-braking Gino Rea to lead the Moto2 race for three
full laps. However, Hafizh had to concede the lead to the top three
riders on Lap 13 when tyre degradation began to take its toll, instead,
opting to focus on maintaining his pace in fourth.
As the storm
worsened, Race Direction was finally forced to red flag the race on
Lap 17. As such, results were taken from Lap 15 which saw Alex De
Angelis announced as the winner with 36:57.793s, Anthony West in second
place with 36:58.503s, Gino Rea third with 36:59.196s and Hafizh
Syahrin fourth with 37:00.734s.
"I pushed hard step by step to
reach the front group. At the beginning of the race, half the track was
dry which allowed me to put in some really quick laps," said Hafizh
who is also the fastest rider of the Moto2 race, clocking 2:23.707s on
Lap 10 when he was leading the race. "Unfortunately, when the rain came
down again, I had no more treads left on my rear tyre and I could do
nothing when the full-season riders powered past me."
"In all, I
am really happy with my achievements today and I thank my team and my
sponsors who have nurtured me so far," said Hafizh.
Hafizh's results as one of the best wildcard results in the Moto2 class
so far, exceeding every expectation set for the young 18-year-old. His
first objective, which was to gun for Jordi Torres, was soon
forgotten. The second objective, to score points, was accomplished in
style with a hefty 13 points to his name, automatically ranking him
23rd overall in the Moto2 class.
Creating new records and
smashing old ones is nothing new for the PETRONAS Raceline Malaysia
rider. Hafizh had been creating waves since he first entered the
Malaysian Cub Prix scene at the tender age of 13. He still holds the
record as the youngest Cub Prix champion after winning the Novice title
in 2009 and soon after that, the Expert/CP130 title in 2010. The rider
who was picked up for the PETRONAS Talent Development programme soon
after his national successes is also the youngest rider to have ever
scored a win in the SuperSports 600cc class of the PETRONAS Asia Road
Racing Championship, a feat accomplished just last year when he
out-raced world-class rider Katsuaki Fujiwara in Qatar.
Hafizh stole the limelight, the drama continued as championship leader
Mark Marquez lost the front of his bike and crashed out. Apart from
Marquez, nine other riders also fell prey to the tricky track
conditions. The title chase continues to the Australian GP with Marquez
in the lead with 283 points, Pol Espargaro who finished eleventh in
the race in second overall with 235 points and Andrea Iannone third
overall with 188 points.