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MOTORCYCLING: Hafizh a wanted man


IN DEMAND: Aspar team showing keen interest in having him on board

TEENAGE sensation Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah could find his career hitting the fast-forward button after being courted by the Aspar team, who run squads in all three classes of the FIM World Motorcycle Championship.

This means, Hafizh could find himself as a full-season competitor in the world championship as early as next year.

Having burst onto the scene with his explosive fourth place from 27th on the grid as a Moto2 wild card in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on Sunday, the 18-year old has gained interest from a number of big teams.

That was the best ever performance by a Malaysian wildcard entry in history and arguably one of the best performances by any wildcard entry on the world championship calendar in recent years.

While others contemplated, Aspar chief executive officer Jorge Martinez was quick to express interest in wanting the Ampang-born Hafizh on board his team next season.

But current team Petronas Raceline Malaysia and Petronas have stated they would rather give the rider time to develop himself further in the Spanish CEV Buckler Moto2 Championship before taking the big step into the world championship.

Martinez was then said to have adjusted his offer to accommodate plans already set by Raceline and Petronas for Hafizh.

"It is an open offer. They are prepared to take Hafizh on board be it for a full season in the Moto3 or Moto2 world championship or in the Spanish CEV Buckler series," said Petronas Raceline Malaysia manager Barry Leong.

Leong was called in for negotiation with Martinez at the circuit immediately after the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.

"They want to provide their services and work with us in bringing Hafizh forward. Of course, the decision is not mine, so I have asked for them to make a formal offer in black and white so that we can study this together with Petronas.

"There are many stages to the offer, also about what we can contribute to move forward together and once we have got all of that officially, only then can we study it and decide what is best for Hafizh," said Leong.

Having previously stated the team and Petronas are committed to a long-term programme for Hafizh, with an eye on a full-season in the world championship only in 2014, this offer now changes the perspective.

Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah waves to the crowd after finishing fourth in the Moto2 race in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang on Sunday. Pic by Goh Thean Howe

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