What’s in a number?

LE MANS: The number 55 is significant to talented rider Hafizh Syahrin. It is the Malaysian teenager’s birth date and he intends to make it a permanent fixture as he charts his career in Moto2 of the World Motorcycle Championship.

Petronas Raceline Malaysia team manager Barry Leong, who has been guiding Hafizh since the early years of his career, said they have been eyeing the bike number for a long time as it was a significant one for Hafizh.

“We have to book the number as early as possible. His birthday falls on May 5 and that is why Hafizh likes it.”

Hafizh felt it was a lucky omen when he used the number for the first time at the Asian Road Racing Championships final round in Qatar two years ago.

“He managed to win the race at Losail International Circuit and that was his maiden win in SuperSports category.

“Hafizh use a different number for his wildcard ride at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang last year but he will be using this number for the whole year,” said Barry, who has been guiding Hafizh since the early years of his involvement in motorsports.

There are plans to give Hafizh more wildcard rides to expose him to World Championships racing.

“We will definitely apply for a wildcard entry for the Malaysian GP in Sepang in October and the Grand Prix race in Catalunya later this year as he is based in Spain.

“If we have the budget, we will apply one more at a different circuit as the objective is to help him gain experience.”

“We need to prepare him and build up his confidence well so that he is really ready when we decide to put him to race a full season,” added Barry.

Hafizh finished 22nd in his first wildcard ride on foreign soil at the just concluded France Grand Prix in Le Mans on Sunday.

If all goes well, Hafizh will be looking at a Moto2 full season ride by next year.

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