Hafizh Syahrin became the first Malaysian to ride a MotoGP bike during an impressive debut for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team at the Thailand test on Friday.

The 23-year-old, thrown in the deep end after grabbing the shock chance to take over the bike vacated by Jonas Folger, put in a solid performance in Buriram.

Syahrin's main aim was to complete a lot of laps and he avoiding any confidence-sapping falls as he notched up 66 testing laps of the Chang International Circuit.

The Moto2 podium finisher - expected to be officially confirmed for the full 2018 season after this test - also went consistently faster, eventually lowering his lap time to a 1m 33.165s.

Although unsurprisingly bottom of the 24-rider timesheet, Syahrin was only 2.368s from fastest rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and 0.416s behind fellow rookie Thomas Luthi (starting his second MotoGP test).

"It was an amazing job, with the team," grinned Syahrin, standing in a sweltering Buriram paddock on Friday evening. "I feel really good with the bike and the team. Every time we went out we improved, which is very important. I'll try to keep going like this and gain more confidence with the bike."

As well as a full day of normal testing on the Yamaha, Syahrin was able to get his first taste of MotoGP launch control. He admitted holding the throttle wide open and quickly dropping the clutch was an alien experience, compared to the traction-control free Moto2 bike he is used to racing.

"Today we made 66 laps of testing and then three practice starts. It was my first experience of launch control and still I need more confidence to release the clutch [quicker]. I know I have traction control, but I still need more confidence with it!

"But we kept improving and it's been a very positive start."

Syahrin confirmed that the riding style needed in MotoGP is also totally different to Moto2. Instead of wide sweeping lines to maintain corner speed, MotoGP requires braking late and accelerating early.

"Nothing can be compared to Moto2! I cannot use Moto2 style, it's totally different. We need to make a V-shape in the corner and before you exit you already need to be full throttle because you have traction control," he explained.

"But for my first time it's not bad. I'm not very far [on lap time]. We will see after two days more."

Syahrin's debut came during MotoGP's first time at the Chang circuit.

"For me it's not so bad, this track. In the beginning when I went down the long straight it was too fast with the MotoGP bike! I braked at over 300 metres before the corner and now I brake nearer 200, similar to the fast riders.

"I built my confidence in every session and although this track is not so difficult, some parts are still technical."

Team-mate Johann Zarco, preparing for his second MotoGP season, set the twelfth fastest lap time.

Testing continues on Saturday and Sunday.



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