Hafizh Syahrin will be hoping his new KTM MotoGP machine performs as well as it looks.

Speaking at his local Sepang circuit on Thursday, the Malaysian - remaining with Tech3 but switching from Yamaha to KTM for his second season in the premier-class - said:

"The [KTM] looks different, sexy! I like all the metal and carbon.

"The electronics are a bit different to the Yamaha and also the engine power, with the Yamaha from the bottom end power is more smooth but with the V4 engine you feel more torque at the bottom. A bit more aggressive.

"I enjoy the bike but I need time to understand it more. It's not easy for me or the team, because the team had been with Yamaha for 20 years so they need time as well. Not only the engine and electronics, but the chassis and suspension is different.

"But I'm really happy to work with this team because they are really helpful to me about trying to understand the bike. We are working hard together and after the first two tests they have also been to the factory in Austria.

"I've heard good news from the team and I can't wait to try the bike tomorrow," he added, referring to an appearance by the KTM race riders at the Shakedown test which precedes the Official Sepang test.

Syahrin was speaking at the scene of his 'emotional' Malaysian MotoGP performance last November, when he delighted the home fans by fighting back from last on the grid to tenth.

"I felt emotional because many people came from a long way in the rain to support us. I said to myself I want to show my fans and give my best to everyone at Sepang, my sponsors and family," Syahrin said.

"But it rained at the last minute in qualifying and I still didn't have enough experience to understand those conditions on a MotoGP bike, so I had to start from last.

"I still believed in myself and my team in the dry and when the lights went off, I don't know what happened in the first corner but I passed eleven or twelve riders. So I was full of motivation, tried to keep the pace and be strong until the end.

"I finished top ten in my home race. That was my target, so it was a really good memory for me.

"I never even expected to be in MotoGP last season," he reflected. "My plan was maybe I can arrive in MotoGP in 2019 or 2020, but I got the early opportunity. So thank you again to Dato Razlan [Razali, Sepang] and Herve [Poncharal, Tech3] for making it happen.

"I couldn't believe it when I was told I would be a MotoGP rider.

"Then in the middle of last season, Herve offered me the contract to continue for this season. I really appreciate to be part of this family and I'll do my best with KTM."

Commenting further on the season ahead, the only target Syahrin was willing to put on record at this stage is a quest to score points in every race.

"Last year I couldn't do that. So I'll try to learn from the rookie mistakes and hope 2019 will go well."

Syahrin also explained why he races with the #55 and the origin of his latest nickname.

"It's because my birthday is 5/5/1994. So - like with Marquez, he was born in 93 - I took 55. It's my lucky number but also has some significance for me. It's not like taking a number without any meaning."

While Syahrin has one well known nickname 'Pescao' (fish), due to his wet-weather ability, he's recently been using #BO55KU in his social media posts.

"It started at the beginning of last season when I trained with the national cycling team. They called 'Bossku, Bossku'… it's sort of like 'bro' or 'boss'. So I put the '55' in it as well.

"We've only used the nickname for a year, but now it's quite famous in Malaysia!"

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