KUALA LUMPUR: It’s ‘slow and steady’ progress for motorcycle riders Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah and Khairul Idham Pawi in their pre-season testing in Jerez, Spain.
The Malaysian duo is trying to get used again to the racing conditions in Moto2 and Moto3 after “switching lanes”.
Hafizh, making a return to the intermediate class for the Aspar Team after two seasons in MotoGP, clocked a “best lap” of one minute, 41.569 seconds. He was the 22nd fastest out of 29 men in the three-day test which concluded yesterday.
Hafizh rode a Kalex during his four full seasons in Moto2 with Petronas Raceline between 2014 and 2017.
“I feel comfortable with the bike and I'm starting to gain confidence in making the change from MotoGP to Moto2, which has a very different (riding) style,” said Hafizh.
“It is not easy to change riding style, but I am taking it step by step, trying not to make mistakes.”
Tom Luthi of the Liqui Moly Intact GP team topped the timesheets on 1:40.326s while Hafizh's Aspar teammate Aron Canet was fifth fastest (+0.384s).
Petronas Sprinta Racing duo Xavi Vierge (+0.450s) and Jake Dixon (+1.805s) were sixth and 25th respectively.
In Moto3 testing, Khairul, representing Petronas Sprinta Racing, clocked 1:46.282s to place 26th out of 31 riders. Teammate John McPhee, who scored their maiden win in the lightweight class at Le Mans last year, was second fastest on 1:45.175s.
Khairul had spent his last three years competing in Moto2 but sat out most of last season due to a hand injury which required multiple surgeries.
“We’re able to improve day by day and I’m gaining confidence again with a Moto3 bike. We need to work a little on the rear and stability under braking,” he said.
Khairul enjoyed a successful rookie season in Moto3 in 2016 when he won two races and immediately moved up to Moto2 the following year.
Moto2 and Moto3 testing will resume at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar next week. Losail will also host the season-opening race on March 6-8.