KUALA LUMPUR: Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah proved his pace in practice was not a fluke after notching an impressive performance in qualifying at the season opening Qatar Motorcycle Grand Prix late on Saturday.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider saved his best for last at the Losail International Circuit as he clocked one minute and 55.258 seconds in his final lap in the qualifying session to place a commendable 15th on the grid.
He was second fastest rookie after Italian Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who secured 14th on 1:55.169s .
It was a joyous day overall for Tech3 as Hafizh's teammate Johann Zarco of France topped the timesheets in a new pole position record time of 1:53.680s. The former record of 1:53.927s was set by Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo a decade ago.
Moto2 duo Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (SIC Racing Team) both struggled to make an impact in qualifying and will start from 25th (2:02.433s) and 32nd (2:04.780s) respectively. Spaniard Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took pole on 2:00.299s.
In Moto3, Petronas Sprinta Racing's Adam Norrodin was left to rue a tactical mistake as he went back out on track prematurely at the end of the session and found himself without any slipstream to follow. Adam, who was 10th fastest early in the session, ended up settling for 17th on 2:07.758s.
"In FP3 we made a big change to the bike and saw the improvement. I felt really confident and I did well early on in the qualifying session but made a mistake at the end," said Adam.
"I went back out on track too early and everybody did their best lap right at the end which is typical in Moto3.
"It is going to be difficult for me but tomorrow (today) is a different day, it’s not over yet. I need to fight hard to be in the front row, I will push hard and hope for a good race."
Teammate Ayumi Sasaki (Japan), however, timed his run to perfection as he followed Spaniard Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) for almost an entire lap which allowed him to secure a career best fourth on 2:07.043s. Italian Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took pole on 2:06.364s with Martin in second on 2:06.365s.