KUALA LUMPUR: The MotoGP World Championships is now at the half-way mark and as far as Malaysian fans are concerned it has been hugely enjoyable so far.
Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, Malaysia's first-ever rider in the premier class, ended the first-half of the season on a high after recapturing the top spot in the rookie standings thanks to a positive race at the German Motorcycle Grand Prix where he finished 11th on Sunday.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider got off to a strong start this year, finishing in the points at the season-opening race in Qatar and then scoring his first top-10 finish at the next round in Argentina (ninth).
But it has not been smooth sailing all the way as he crashed out at Austin and Catalunya, and also failed to score points at Assen and Jerez.
Overall, Hafizh has done a good job in MotoGP having spent the last four years in Moto2. He is currently 16th in the overall MotoGP standings with 22 points and is leading the five-man rookie class.
Tech3 team principal Herve Poncharal believes Hafizh's performance at the Sachsenring circuit on Sunday proves he is maturing.
"Hafizh showed fighting spirit and was clever. He was in ninth position in Barcelona (Catalunya) a few laps from the end but then did a mistake (and crashed). Today (Sunday) he showed us that he has learned from that," said Poncharal on Sunday.
"He has been fighting with some great names and the last guy he has been fighting with and whom he eventually beat on the line was Andrea Iannone who is a full factory rider (Suzuki) and also a GP winner. This is something we feel proud of."
In Moto2, Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who is now in his second year in the division, has only shown marginal improvement so far this season with a solitary points finish at Le Mans to show.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin, drafted in as a last minute replacement for Hafizh at SIC Racing Team, has already called it a day after an abysmal run in the first four rounds of the season. He has been replaced in the team by Finn Niki Tuuli.
In Moto3, Adam Norrodin, now in his third season in Moto3, showed glimpses of his potential in the second race of the season in Argentina where he finished fifth but has otherwise been disappointing considering his experience in the division.
The season will resume at the Czech Republic Motorcycle Grand Prix on Aug 5.