Hafizh wins first-ever race in Spain

KUALA LUMPUR: Hafizh Syahrin earned a perfect boost ahead of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang next month by recording his first-ever Moto2 win in the CEV Repsol Spanish Championships at the Navarra Circuit on Sunday.

Hafizh also made it a double podium later by finishing third in Race 2 but his earlier win in the ultra competitive Spanish motorcycling series, which is the cradle of world motorcycle racing, was remarkable in the sense that he is the first Malaysian rider to win in Europe.

Hafizh, who started third on the grid, was unusually slow at the start of Race 1 in the fifth leg of the championship and was pushed back to fifth by Turn 1.

But that did not stop the lad from Selangor from working his way up along the twisty circuit, chasing after leaders Roman Ramos and Alejandro Marinelerana.
Hafizh rode superbly to pass the leading Spanish duo with six laps to go.

Despite unrelenting pressure from his arch- rivals, Hafizh managed to maintain the lead until the chequered flag at the end of the 18-lap race.

Hafizh’s won in 30:50.823, ahead of Marinelerana (30:51.128) while championship leader Ramos took third place with 30:56.440.

“I was a little nervous at the starting grid. I knew my machine was good and I had a lot of confidence that I could make this happen.

“I told myself not to let anyone down and despite a bad start, I was still certain that I would be able to catch the two top guys,” said Hafizh, who will make his second appearance in the Malaysian GP as a wildcard rider.

Hafizh is certainly delighted to be growing stronger round by round.

“This is the proudest moment of my career. I finally won in the Spanish Championship (his second year).

“All the hard work paid off. To my team, our sponsors, my family and everyone back home in Malaysia, I dedicate this win to you all.

“Without my team and my sponsors, especially Petronas, I would never have reached this stage.”

With the win, Hafizh closed in on Marinelarena in the overall standings.

Now with 94 points under his belt, Hafizh is only three points away from challenging the Spaniard for the second overall position.

Ramos still leads with 126 points.
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