HISTORIC: He’s the first Malaysian winner of an international Moto2 class race
HAFIZH Syahrin Abdullah made history as the first Malaysian winner of an international Moto2 class race in Round Five of the CEV Championship in Navarra, Spain, yesterday.
The 17-year-old Petronas Raceline Malaysia rider rose to the top step of the podium and stood tall to the strains of Negaraku, which was played for the first time in the series after battling his way up from a bad start.
The start of Race One saw Hafizh drop to fifth at the first corner, but he fought back to overtake championship leader Roman Ramos of Team Stratos and second placed Alejandro Marinelarena by the 12th lap.
On board his Kalex machine, Hafizh held on to record a sensational win to close the gap atop the championship and set up a mouthwatering battle for the title as the series approaches its final turn.
"This is the proudest moment of my life. I finally won in this Spanish Championship. All the hard work has paid off, the team, the sponsors, my family and the people in Malaysia. This is for you," said an elated Hafizh.
"I am extremely happy today as I was a little nervous at the starting grid. I knew my machine was good and I have so much confidence I could make this happen.
"I told myself not to let everyone down and despite a bad start, I knew I could catch the top two guys. Thank you so much, my team really did a wonderful job."
Hafizh is still third in the championship but now with 94 points, just two behind Marinelarena in second and 32 behind leader Ramos with just three races remaining.
Petronas Raceline Malaysia team principal Barry Leong was equally ecstatic with his young charge, the victory coming a week after the team endured painful news that their application to be part of the Moto2 World Championship next year was rejected.
"Hafizh was absolutely brilliant today. We discussed the strategies before the race as we have two top riders to beat," said Barry.
"It did not work as planned as he started pretty bad, fell behind to fifth spot and 1.8 seconds behind after two laps. He was just determined to win this one. That's history for him and for the team.
"The crew was just incredible who worked round the clock, making sure everything was working well with the Kalex machine and the race just turned out to be perfect."