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Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah will start the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix from the last row of the starting grid on Sunday.- NSTP/NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah will start the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix from the last row of the starting grid on Sunday.- NSTP/NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM

SEPANG: Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah failed to shine in the rain-interrupted qualifying session of the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix here on Saturday.

And as a result, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider will start 23rd on the last row of the starting grid on Sunday.

Hafizh was placed 13th early in the day in a dry third practice (FP3) with an improved 2:00.558s. He then notched 15th (2:01.391s) in FP4, which was held in mixed conditions.

The first qualifying group (Q1), which Hafizh was in, was red flagged shortly after the start of the session due to heavy rain and was only restarted after roughly one hour and twenty minutes.

Hafizh then clocked 2:16.825s on a fully wet track which saw him settling for 13th in Q1, subsequently placing him on the eighth row in 23rd.

In Q2, world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) of Spain took pole on 2:12.161s. Hafizh's teammate Johann Zarco (France) was second (2:12.709s) while Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi (2:13.009s) completed the front row.

The poor weather today has prompted the organisers to bring forward all three races by two hours tomorrow with Moto3 now set to begin at 10am, Moto2 at 11.20am and MotoGP at 1pm.

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah during the qualifying round at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang.- NSTP/NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah during the qualifying round at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang.- NSTP/NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM

Hafizh admitted it was not the result he was hoping for but is determined to put in a good performance for the home crowd tomorrow.

"The bike has improved a lot from yesterday, in FP3 I did well and I was hoping to continue improving in FP4 as well as qualifying but it was not to be," said the 24-year-old.

"This was my first time with the MotoGP bike in the rain and to go straight to qualifying in such conditions was quite tough as I did not have the experience.

"However, the race has been brought forward tomorrow and I am hoping it will be a dry race.

"Initially, my target was to be in the top-10 but it will be hard to do so from the back.

"My goal now is to finish in the points (top-15) and put in a good performance for the fans, I do not want to disappoint them. Anything more than that will be a bonus."

Hafizh had struggled with braking and corner exiting issues during the opening practice sessions in the dry yesterday.

His appearance at Sepang has been highly anticipated by fans as he is the first Malaysian rider to compete in the premier class of the world championships.

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