KUALA LUMPUR: Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah got off to a positive start on his first day of testing in MotoGP with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in Buriram on Friday.
Hafizh ended the day last among 24 riders on the timesheets, a distant 2.368 seconds behind LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow (1:30.797s), who was fastest, but considering the circumstances, the Malaysian showed a lot of potential on his first outing in MotoGP.
The 23-year-old, who spent the last four seasons in Moto2, said he has begun to gain a decent understanding of his YZR-M1 machine, which is much more advanced than what he had been used to.
"I have to thank Tech 3 for believing in me. This first day has been positive overall, I thought I would be really far behind the other riders but I was only about 2.3 seconds behind (the leader)," said Hafizh.
"I have a good relationship with the team and I am gaining more confidence and understanding with them. I do not see any problems in that sense.
"I do not have any targets for the second day of testing tomorrow, the goal is to just keep improving in every session and take things step by step."
Tech 3 have said they will evaluate Hafizh's perfomance during testing at Buriram before deciding whether they will be offering him a permanent seat in the team for this season.
Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali, however, earlier this month disclosed that it was already a done deal.
Tech 3, however, have yet to confirm this.
Tech 3 were forced to search for a last minute replacement for Jonas Folger, who will be forced to sit out this season due to illness.