PRESSURE can either make or break a rider in the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix.
For local MotoGP hope Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, it’s the motivation he needs to make the fans happy come race day at the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit.
It’s going to be a special weekend for the MotoGP rookie as he will race for the very first time in the premier class at home.
Hafizh failed to finish the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Phillip Island last week despite starting from 10th on the grid – his best qualifying finish to date.
The 24-year-old eyes a top 10 finish in front of a 100,000 strong home crowd this Sunday.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Johann Zarco is also looking to rebound at Sepang after colliding with world champion Marc Marquez in a high-speed incident and crashing out in Phillip Island.
“First of all, I want to thank all Malaysians who are coming to support the event. I heard the ticket sales are better than last year,” said Hafizh, who was among the riders who took part in a pre-event MotoGP bike demo in front of the KLCC on Thursday evening.
“I want to do something to make everyone happy.
“I experienced good sensations from Phillip Island. Although the result was not great in the end, two thirds of the race were fantastic and I learned from the top riders in front of me – plus I was able to stay close to them.
“Unfortunately, we lost the front in turn four and also in the straight as we were missing some power from the engine.
“Now I just can’t wait for my home race, which gives me extra motivation.
“We’ll keep working hard and keep believing in ourselves.
“There’s always pressure but the support of the fans raises my spirit.”
Hafizh added there will not be major changes to his bike for the Malaysian race.
“I will be getting a new ‘winglet’ like Zarco’s bike, so we’ll see how things go,” said Hafizh, who finished sixth in the Moto2 race at Sepang last year.
Meanwhile, Dentsu Sports Asia also announced its official appointment as exclusive commercial partner for Hafizh as South-East Asia’s first MotoGP rider.
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