'Best' Syahrin retires after 'huge lowside' scare

Early laps at Italian MotoGP produce 'by far the best Hafizh [Syahrin]since the beginning of the year', but a massive moment at the corner where Rossi fell spells beginning of the end…
'Best' Syahrin retires after 'huge lowside' scare

Hafizh Syahrin made strong early progress to climb from 21st to 17th in Sunday's Italian MotoGP.

But a 'huge' moment at the fast Arrabbiata 2 right-hander, scene of Valentino Rossi's later accident, would be followed by further front-end scares, prompting Syahrin to pull into the Red Bull KTM Tech3 pits on lap 10 of 23.

“I am really disappointed. I felt very good with the bike in the beginning of the race, but in turn nine - the place where Rossi crashed - I had a huge lowside and was lucky to save it," said the Malaysian.

"I tried to push again, but couldn’t find the same feeling as in the beginning. I wanted to do more laps, but with this feeling it was impossible not to go down, so I decided to retire.

"It’s a pity, especially because I’m convinced that we could have scored points here, but sometimes this just happens. I’m truly sorry for everybody, we keep working hard for the next race in Montmelo."

Syahrin had been in front of team-mate Miguel Oliveira before the incidents and team manager Herve Poncharal felt back-to-back points were possible.

"Hafizh had a big moment and that was a real shame because until then, that was for sure the best start of the year for him and he could have been fighting for points," Poncharal said.

"But unfortunately he lost the front. He aimed to carry on, but lost the front a few more times and I understand his idea that is was safer to come in.

"But it was a huge disappointment as it was by far the best Hafizh we saw since the beginning of the year."

Meanwhile, rookie Oliveira went on to hold 15th and the final point until being passed by Karel Abraham (Avintia Ducati) with four laps to go.

“It was a tough race in the beginning and hard to manage the bike with the full fuel tank," said Oliveira, who was 21st in the opening laps. "Then I started to find my pace and it was quite ok during the race.

"The last five laps where very difficult again, as I was missing grip and I could not manage to attack the points scoring positions. But in general, the gap to the front was not too big and also the one to Pol [13sec] was not huge.

"After the tough weekend, I think we didn’t expect to be so competitive in the race, so it was positive. We learned more about the bike and take more experience to Barcelona.”

Poncharal revealed that Oliveira was nursing a finger injury from morning warm-up.

"The warm up crash didn’t help, so for sure, in the early part of the race Miguel was a bit cautious. He’s got a small injury on a finger of his left hand.

"[But] Miguel was lapping really consistently. I think the tyre choice [medium-medium] was the best one. He passed quite a few guys, including Johann Zarco and, for a part of the race, we were in the points.

"But unfortunately Abraham was a bit quicker in the end and passed us, which didn’t allow us to score that point, that would have been a decent end to a quite constructive weekend."