KUALA LUMPUR: The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) plan to get a Malaysian rider into the MotoGP world championship by 2019.
And the one most likely to earn the coveted spot is Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah (pic), who is now competing in the Moto2 world championship.
The SIC will form a new team to compete in the intermediate class next year and a deal has been reached for Hafizh to move from Petronas Raceline Malaysia for his fifth full season in the world championship.
Hafizh has been backed by Petronas since he made his full-season debut in 2014. It is learned that the rider wants a new management to take his career to greater heights.
Having a local rider to compete in the premier class of the world championship will be the biggest success for the nation in two-wheel racing and fits in nicely with the SIC branding.
SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali confirmed that they have submitted Hafizh’s name as the proposed rider for the new Moto2 team to MotoGP promoters Dorna.
Hafizh will be the only rider for the new Moto2 team under the SIC banner.
“If everything goes well, he will continue in Moto2 with us next year. A local rider competing in MotoGP will no doubt be the biggest selling point of the Malaysian Grand Prix in the near future.
“Hafizh will enjoy full technical support and the best bike but we want him to get a few podium finishes next year to show that he is worthy of a place in MotoGP,” said Razlan.
Hafizh previously had one podium finish from the 2012 Malaysian GP at Sepang. Riding under a wild card entry, he finished fourth in a wet race and was later promoted to third when Australian Anthony West was stripped of his result after losing a doping appeal.
The SIC already have a Moto3 team competing in the world championship, with Malaysia’s Adam Norrodin and Japan’s Ayumu Sasaki.