KUALA LUMPUR: Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah believes he would have wrapped up the MotoGP Rookie of the Year title if not for his crashes this season.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider admitted it is now difficult for him to overtake Italian Franco Morbidelli of EG 0,0 Marc VDS in the rookie standings with only one race left this season.
Hafizh finished 10th at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang yesterday while Morbidelli placed 12th.
Morbidelli leads the rookie standings with 50 points while Hafizh is in second with 40 points. A maximum of 25 points will be on offer in the final round at Valencia later this month.
"It's tough for me now (to overtake Morbidelli). Each time I had scored points at Buriram and Motegi, he was not far behind me,” said the 24-year-old.
"The gap was only four points going into Phillip Island but then I crashed while going for an eighth place finish.
"However, I have already shown that I am faster than the other rookies this season. Unfortunately I crashed at Austin, Catalunya and Phillip Island.
"If I did not crash in those races, we could have been celebrating winning the rookie title at Sepang."
Hafizh added that he will be stepping into unchartered territory when Tech3 make the switch to KTM machinery next season.
"Tech3 have promised me a factory bike (KTM) and that all four riders (including KTM factory team) Johann Zarco, Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira will be getting the same bike, updates and development to allow us to be competitive with other manufacturers such as Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Ducati.
"It might be tough for me because I do not have any experience riding KTM but I will try my best to learn as fast as possible."
Hafizh's teammate Zarco will be moving to the factory KTM team next year and his place in Tech3 will be taken over by Oliveira. Both Hafizh and Oliveira's contracts are for one year (2019).