Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah. Pix by Zunnur Al Shafiq

Hafizh keeps feet on the ground

SUBANG: Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah is a man on a mission to put Malaysia on the MotoGP map but the rider will not set unrealistic targets when he officially starts the season next month.

On Wednesday, Hafizh received confirmation from Monster Yamaha Tech 3 that he will be racing with them in the premier class this season. He will be the first rider from Southeast Asia to compete in MotoGP.

The 23-year-old said he intends to keep his head down and work hard to improve himself.

"I really have to thank Tech 3 for giving me the chance of a lifetime and also SIC who have worked so hard to make this happen," said Hafizh at a press conference on Wednesday.

"There was a lot of talk and a lot of questions on social media recently, I just kept quiet.

"I will give it everything I have and do my best for Malaysia and my supporters but most importantly I will remain humble.

Hafizh, who spent the last four years competing in Moto2, said his main goal this season is to finish in the points and also gain valuable experience.

"I am just a beginner so do not expect too much from me,” he said.

"I do not really have any (high) targets for this season. I want to finish in the top 20 in the first race (Qatar) and finish in the points as much as possible, which is really hard to do in MotoGP.

"I have managed to gain a decent understanding of the bike during testing (Buriram) and I felt I did quite well to place above Karel Abraham, Xavier Simeon and Jorge Lorenzo but there is still a lot for me to learn."

Hafizh recently concluded three days of testing with Tech 3 at the Buriram Circuit in Thailand. The season will kick-off at the Losail International Circuit in Buriram on March 18.

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