Motorsport

Published: Friday May 16, 2014 MYT 8:30:00 PM
Updated: Friday May 16, 2014 MYT 10:09:33 PM

Hafizh out to conquer Le Mans

Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah is out to make amends at this year's Moto2 race in the French Grand Prix for last year's disastrous outing where he only finished 23rd.

Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah is out to make amends at this year's Moto2 race in the French Grand Prix for last year's disastrous outing where he only finished 23rd.

LE MANS: A pumped up Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah is ready to erase his bad memories at the historic Le Mans venue when he revs into action in the fifth leg of the Moto2 race at the French Grand Prix.

Last year, Hafizh, of Petronas Raceline Malaysia, had raced at Le Mans via a wild card but wet weather, a minor accident and a lack of experience saw him finishing 23rd.

“I was thrilled but it all went wrong,” said the 20-year-old Hafizh at the track on Friday.

“I did well during the qualifying but I could not adjust when it rained on race day. I struggled on the damp track. My bike got hit from the back too at one of the turns.”

This time, Hafizh is racing in the 18-round Moto2 as a full-fledged rider and after completing five rounds with some ups and downs, he is wiser and ready to face the unpredictable Le Mans.

“I have gained experience in every race. I will be ready, rain or shine. Choosing the right tyres at the right time is crucial and a good knowledge of the track is also useful,” said Hafizh.

“I enter every race with the hope of winning a point and it is no different with Le Mans. I need it to build my confidence.

“Hopefully, by the half-way mark of the championships, I will be a more consistent rider.”

On the first free practice on Friday, Hafizh said: “The timing is not so good but that is only because I had some mechanical problems. It has been sorted out and I am looking forward to the race.”

As a debutant, Hafizh has done creditably well in the championships so far. He has scored one point each in the first and second legs in Doha (Qatar) and Austin (United States) when he finished 15th in both races but came out 20th in Termos Rio de Hondo (Argentina) and 21st in Jerez (Spain).

“I had the perfect setting in Argentina. If not for some tyre issues, I would have scored my best result of the season. I am looking for a much better ride here.”

The Kuala Lumpur lad, who showed potential from the age of 13 in the Cub Prix Championship, is drawing inspiration from 2013 Moto GP world champion Marc Marquez of Spain.

“He is just one year younger than me but he is very good. He has a lot of support from his team (Repsol Honda) just like I have from Petronas. I aspire to be like him,” he said.

Marquez was the 2012 Moto2 champion before joining the big leagues last year where he went on to win it in style.

Besides Hafizh, the other Malaysian in the Moto2 race is 29-year-old Azlan Shah, who is riding for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia.

Tags / Keywords: motorsport, Motorcycle Grand Prix, French Grand Prix, Le Mans, Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, Azlan Shah

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