Hafizh Syahrin has produced an eye-catching performance to secure a top 10 result to put away his nightmare in qualifying on an emotionally-charged home debut MotoGP race at Sepang.
The Malaysian became the first rider from his nation to compete in his premier class home race and was visibly hit by the reception from the local Sepang crowd having been in tears both before and after the race.
Having composed his thoughts post-race, which also saw an emotional embrace with his father on the starting grid just minutes before the race, Syahrin says it was his best performance in MotoGP to date powering from last on the grid to 10th place battling for position with Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci at the chequered flag.
“This is my best career weekend this result.” the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider said despite finishing ninth in Argentina earlier this year. “In Argentina, the situation of the weather is half-half, half wet, half dry, so in Argentina, we need confidence, but here, we fought in the completely dry so we did the best job.
“We passed eight riders in the straight, something like that, and then when we arrived in the first corner, I tried to pass some riders.
“At the end I tried to keep the pace, I saw the lap board every lap, some riders had a gap with me, so I tried to maintain that, and in the end when I saw P10, I kept consistent, I didn't want to make any disaster, or crash again. I just wanted to finish the best race for my fans and all my team.”
Syahrin felt he was able to embrace his emotions making history for Malaysia rather than become overwhelmed by the moment.
“On the starting grid I felt a little bit emotional because my friend Adam Norrodin made the best race from pit lane to the faster group, trying to fight for the points [in the earlier Moto3 race],” he said. “I was crying in the pit lane alone and then I pushed to him in the pit wall.
“When he crashed I felt down but I said to myself, I can do this or not, and in the end when I arrived on the grid I saw my father behind the gate.
“I tried to go to my father but it's difficult. I want to say thank you to the security here, because they let my father go to me on the grid.
“I was crying on the grid and after crying I just wanted to do my best, I wanedt to give all my potential that I have. In the end, we made a good race.
“I want to say thank you to all the team, the fans who came here because they believe in me, and I'm really happy for that, and thank you to all the guys, and I just want to say alhamdulillah [all praise is due to God alone].”
Syahrin’s third top 10 finish of his maiden MotoGP campaign sees him close to 10 points behind Franco Morbidelli in the battle for the top rookie spot in the riders’ championship with one round remaining in Valencia.