KUALA LUMPUR: Moto2 rider Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah proved he has the potential to make the big step up to MotoGP in the future after securing his second podium finish in three races at the Japan Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday.
The rain during the race, which had been persistent throughout the weekend, was perfect for the wet weather specialist as he romped to third at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, crossing the line 3.134 seconds behind Alex Marquez (Marc VDS), who won in 32:08.901s.
Xavi Vierge (+1.465s) of Tech 3 Racing came in second, while Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Khairul Idham Pawi (+50.531s) settled for 23rd.
Hafizh, who currently rides for Petronas Raceline, had shown strong pace throughout the weekend and had topped the timesheets in FP3 and later qualified sixth.
He had scored his first outright podium finish (third place) in Moto2 at San Marino last month.
“We were quietly confident throughout the weekend, and it was just a matter of remaining calm and focused.
“The race went perfectly and I am very happy to secure my second podium finish of the season. The bike had been competitive and on the pace all weekend. We also managed to record a succession of fastest lap times today.
“This result will motivate us to keep pushing in the next races. A big thank you to everyone for all your support and prayers.
“We are going to work hard and do our best to repay the faith and support of all our fans, partners and sponsors,” said the 23-year-old.
His performance at Motegi sees him moving a spot up to 10th in the overall Moto2 standings with 82 points.
Hafizh has been widely linked with a move to SIC Racing Team next year. SIC will be making an announcement on Oct 24, which is believed to be about their new Moto2 team. featuring Hafizh.
They have made it clear that they aim to have a Malaysian rider competing for SIC in MotoGP in 2019, with Hafizh being the most likely candidate.
SIC, however, suffered a tough outing in Moto3 at Motegi as both their riders Adam Norrodin and Ayumu Sasaki crashed out of the race.
Adam highsided with seven laps to go, while RBA BOE Racing Team’s Gabriel Rodrigo crashed in the ninth lap, taking out Ayumi with him.
Phillip Island will host the next round of the World Championships on Oct 20-22, followed by Sepang on Oct 27-29.