Syahrin recovers for emotional top 10 at home Malaysian GP
First-ever Malaysian MotoGP riders put on incredible display at Sepang.
Following a disastrous qualifying session that saw him wind up on the last row, Monster Energy Tech3 Yamaha’s Hafizh Syahrin put on an incredible display in front of 103,000 Malaysian fans at the weekend’s penultimate round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship as he fought his way to 10th position.
Syahrin navigated his way to P12 on the opening lap, maintaining his place at the middle of the field until completing the 20-lap encounter for his third top 10 of the season.
The entire weekend was an emotional one for the number 55, being the first ever Malaysian rider to represent the nation in the premier class, while also being his first home grand prix while contesting the MotoGP category.
“It’s just unbelievable!” Syahrin stated. “First of all, I want to say thank you very much to my team, because they always believe in me and give me great motivation. Yesterday has been a disaster for us, but we made up for it. In the starting grid, I saw my father and was just emotional and had to hug him.
“I want to thank everybody that came here. To arrive in the top 10 for my home GP was my target, but to be honest, I didn’t believe it was possible. But in the end, we did it, which is incredible. I want to thank everybody – I love my family and my fans. I’m so happy!”
Team manager Herve Poncharal praised the youthful talent’s efforts, highlighting his top 10 placing in front of a home crowd as a dream for the KTM-bound outfit.
“I was feeling very sorry last night after qualifying for Hafizh, because I know how important this Malaysian grand prix was for him,” said Poncharal. “I know the effort he put in to reach MotoGP and finally for his first home GP he was so disappointed, so sad. I tried to cheer him up this morning, I tried to cheer him up on the grid and – I don’t know if there is a link in between what I told him and what he did, but the start was unreal.
“Maybe one of the best starts I’ve ever seen, at least this season and from that moment he was fighting with Miller, Petrucci and even Vinales at some stage. He finished the race in 10th position, which is a dream for us and for him and I’m so happy, because Hafizh is not only an incredible team player, but he is a charming young man and he is the best ambassador Malaysia could have in MotoGP.”
Syahrin sits 16th in the championship standings with one round remaining, while he’s 10 points shy of Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in the race for Rookie of the Year honours.