Hafizh takes cautious route to finish 12th in SpainPOSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 05 May 2015
MALAYSIA’S contingent at the MotoGP motorcycling world championships struggled to make a mark at Sunday’s latest round in Jerez, Spain.
The fourth round of the Moto2 championship saw leading Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline) secure 12th placing which saw him slip to 10th in the standings on 24 points having started the weekend in joint eighth after the third round in Argentina.
Moto2 compatriots Azlan Shah (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was 21st while rookie JPMoto rider Zaqhwan Zaidi stayed upright to bring up the rear in 26th. In Moto 3, Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Drive M7 SIC) finished 33rd, well behind Czech teammate Jakub Kornfeld who was 11th.
Petronas Raceline team manager Barry Leong confessed that it had been a difficult weekend starting from the practice session when everything was not working as expected.
“There were some problems with the rear shock and that slowed the development and improvement on the bike for the qualifying session,” he said in an email to motorme.my
The team was looking at getting better upgraded parts soon for further testing and evaluation and “hopefully the parts could be ready for use in the next race”.
Jonas Folger won his second race of the season after passing defending champion Tito Rabat midway and held the position till he took the checquered flag. Rabat crossed the line second after a collision with Alex Rins in the very last corner but stayed ahead of Johann Zarco who finished third.
“The start of the race was difficult. Too many riders were pushing at every turn and the situation was getting a bit dangerous,” Hafizh said.
“Then I was bogged down behind Sam Lowes for two laps and that cost me a lot of time to catch up with the riders in front. I had to work hard again after passing Lowes to gain position after position and this is the best that I could managed for this race. We look forward for the next race at Le Mans.”
MotoGP saw two-time champion Jorge Lorenzo back to his magnificent best as the Movistar Yamaha rider underscored his weekend dominance at Jerez with a commanding success in Spain.
Lorenzo led the 27-lap race from start to finish, making a flying start from pole on the YZR-M1 and quickly settling into a rhythm as the double premier class champion edged away at the front from Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, nursing a finger injury sustained during a dirt bike accident in the wake of the Argentina MotoGP.
It was Lorenzo’s first rostrum of the season after a brace of fourth place finishes in Qatar and Austin were followed with fifth in Argentina, but the smile was back on the Spaniard’s face on home soil as he celebrated confirmation that he will remain at Yamaha in 2016 in perfect style.
Lorenzo was in a class of his own at Jerez as he dictated the pace from the front, taking the flag with 5.5 seconds to spare from Marquez.
World championship leader Valentino Rossi relentlessly hunted down Marquez in the final third of the race and had closed to within 1.3 seconds of the Honda, but the 22-year-old had kept something in reserve for the last laps and began to pull away from Rossi, taking the runner-up spot by six seconds at the line.
Cal Crutchlow recovered after a difficult qualifying to finish a strong fourth on the CWM LCR Honda ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro, while Ducati’s Andrea Iannone – who fought back after making a terrible start from the front row on the GP15 – completed the top six.
Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro finished seventh on the GSX-RR ahead of Britain’s Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), while Andrea Dovizioso took ninth after a costly mistake at the final turn saw the Ducati star run into the gravel.
Dovizioso dropped towards the rear of the grid after his error on lap two, crossing the line in 25th position and leaving himself with a mountain to climb.
With 10 laps remaining, Rossi began to look a threat to Marquez for second place and slowly but surely he slashed the deficit to the Honda rider, closing to within 1.3 seconds.
However, Marquez was able to respond and managed to find extra pace on the RC213V, re-establishing his advantage over Rossi and nullifying the Yamaha rider’s challenge.
Lorenzo closed out a morale-boosting win to gain some ground in the championship reckoning and is five points behind Dovizioso after the first four rounds, with Rossi continuing to lead the way by 15 points from the Ducati rider.
Runner-up Marquez is 26 points behind Rossi in fourth place overall in the championship.
Leading Spanish MotoGP results: 1 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain, Yamaha), 2 Marc Marquez (Spain, Honda), 3 Valentino Rossi (Italy, Yamaha), 4 Cal Crutchlow (Britain, Honda), 5 Pol Espargaro (Spain, Yamaha), 6 Andrea Iannone (Italy, Ducati), 7 Aleix Espargaro (Spain, Suzuki), 8 Bradley Smith (Britain, Yamaha), 9 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy, Ducati), 10 Yonny Hernandez (Colombia, Ducati).
Leading Standings: Rossi 82 points, Dovizioso 67, Lorenzo 62, Marquez 56, Iannone 50.
Moto2: 1 Jonas Folger (Germany, 2 Johann Zarco (France), 3 Tito Rabat (Spain), 4 Thomas Luthi (Switzerland), 5 Xavier Simeon (Belgium). Also: 12 Hafizh Syahrin (M’sia), 21 Azlan Shah (M’sia), 26 Zaqhwan Zaidi (M’sia).
Leading standings: Zarco 73 points, Folger 57, Alex Rins (Spain) 49, Luthi 43, Franco Morbidelli (Italy) 43. Also Hafizh Syahrin (M’sia) 24 10.