KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah laid to rest the ghost of Valencia in style by recording his second straight win of the season in the Spanish National Championships on Sunday.
Competing as a wildcard in last week’s Valencia Grand Prix, Hafizh crashed out just five laps into the race. It was his fourth wildcard appearance in the world championships this year.
But there were no hiccups for Hafizh in the penultimate round of the Spanish Championships despite racing under difficult windy conditions.
Hafizh, on a Kalex machine, claimed the chequered flag at the end of the 19-lap race in 31:04.413. He has now scored five podium finishes in the last seven races, including a career-first win in the last round in Navarra in September.
It was also the second time he started from pole position, after securing pole in the opening round in Catalunya in April but crashed out after just two laps.
In Sunday’s race, Hafizh dropped to second on the seventh lap under pressure from championship leader Roman Ramos of Spain but he regained the lead two laps later and proceeded to win the race.
Ramos was beaten to second place by compatriot Alejandro Marinelarena towards the end of the race.
With his third-place finish, Ramos remains at the top of the championship with 162 points and is in a comfortable position to seal the title in the final round at Jerez next weekend.
As for Hafizh, he remains in third spot on 135 points. He needs to overcome a seven-point deficit in Jerez next weekend to pip Marinelarena for the second overall spot.
Hafizh, who will ride full time in the Moto2 world championship next year with Petronas Raceline Malaysia, was delighted to maintain his impressive track record in the Spanish Championships thus far.
“I was a little nervous at the start as I did not want to repeat the same mistake I did last weekend by crashing.
“I tried to dictate my rivals’ strategies at the beginning and it worked really well this time as I knew I could win if I played it cool.
“Everything looks good to me right now although I am still third overall.
“The team worked very hard gathering valuable bike set-up data at the Valencia circuit in a recent test and that helped me a lot this weekend,” said Hafizh.
by Lim Teik Huat - The Star