SEPANG: Starting from the back row, MotoGP rookie Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah scored an unexpected 10th place at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix today.
Hafizh, who had qualified in 23rd, made an outstanding start and stormed up to 11th place in the opening lap itself at the Sepang Circuit.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider, however, could not find a way past Italian Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac), who was just ahead of him for much of the race, but Valentino Rossi's crash allowed him to cross the line, 10th, 26.919s behind race winner Marc Marquez.
Hafizh revealed that he was inspired by Adam Norrodin's performance in Moto3 earlier in the day as well as his father Abdullah Harun.
Adam, who raced with a broken shoulder and torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, started from the pit lane due to an infringement during qualifying but fought his way up to 13th before crashing at the business end of the race.
Hafizh admitted that it was an emotional race and one he will cherish.
"This week has been tough especially the first two days. I felt down as many fans had doubted my abilities," said Hafizh.
"Adam is one of my best friends on the track, he is a quiet guy but gives it everything he has every time he is racing. He is just unlucky not to finish in the front.
"I felt really touched by his performance, I cried in the pit lane while supporting him in the race. This is his last race here at Sepang.
"I felt really motivated and inspired by Adam and also my family. I saw my dad before the race behind the gates and I am thankful to the security guard who let me through to hug him."
Sepang is the third time Hafizh has finished in the top-10 this season after the Argentina and Motegi rounds.