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Hafizh Syahrin at the 2018 GP of Qatar

Hafizh Syahrin: Five minutes with MotoGP’s brand new star

Apr 272018

As much as the power, exertions and eye-straining demands of MotoGP are a discovery for soon-to-be 24 year old rookie Hafizh Syahrin, the Malaysian is also a new prospect for fans and followers of the fastest and most glamorous motorcycle racing series in the world.

Syahrin earned his saddle in the Monster Energy Yamaha Tech3 team in the wake of illness to German Jonas Folger and after demonstrating his potential and ability to gel with the satellite crew after just one test in the 2018 pre-season period. Points and ranking as the top non-factory racer in the two opening Grands Prix of the year vindicated the decision to place the former Moto2 runner (three podium appearances to his name) and had Team Manager Herve Poncharal purring. “He has been like a dream,” the Frenchman offered. “Not only has he been very fast but hasn't made many mistakes and gives great technical feedback. Besides the performance, the guy is so refreshing, so different to the ‘superstars’ that you have to work with sometimes. He is full of energy and naivety but in a good way. We are really happy.”

Syahrin rise to prominence – particularly in his homeland and from his roots in Ampang – has been almost as fast as his black-and-green M1. His time is now more and more in demand at MotoGP events but we tracked the smiling #55 to ask about the past and the present… 


How did you get into motorcycling in Malaysia?

When I was around 8 years old I used to spend time with my father in the workshop. At that point we had no home! So I went to school from there, ate there, everything. We were travelling a lot when I started to race pocketbikes; we travelled around Malaysia with the small bike in the back of the car. Sometimes we didn’t even have enough money to stay in the hotel, so we just slept in the car too. From there, I knew I wanted to change my life, so I said to myself “I want to be a professional rider and I want to be the best rider in Malaysia.” Now, I’m in the MotoGP category. I didn’t believe that this could happen!

Have you always had a love for speed?

Yes, I love the speed and the sound of the bike. Also, when I was young we had a lot of two-stroke bikes and so that smell for me, is like a beautiful girl’s perfume! I’m in love with it.

Moto2 to MotoGP must be quite a step…

I had four years in Moto2. There are a lot of differences with the power, the electronics, the tyres - it is completely different. The teamwork and the strategy of the team is also different from Moto2 which means I that I have a lot to learn and study.

Are you liking the Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3 set up?

Yes, for sure. I really like it. They are very calm and understand my situation – I missed a few of the tests before the season started but tried my best to catch up as fast as I could, working hard to understand everything in order to avoid being far from the rest of the riders. I’m really enjoying the set-up of the team.

The off-season must have been a challenge…

After I finished last season, I actually had had a big day: I got married! So now life is a bit different for me (laughs). As for the racing aspect, nothing much changed. I was keeping the same pace, training a lot and trying to improve during training. In fact, I needed to train twice as hard because I was jumping up to MotoGP.