Hafizh Syahrin bidding to become latest MotoGP-to-WorldSBK success story

Hafizh Syahrin - the first and so far only south-east Asian rider to compete in MotoGP - wants to become the latest GP-to-WorldSBK success story with Honda

Hafizh Syahrin

Former MotoGP rider Hafizh Syahrin says he is setting his sights high ahead of his maiden season in the 2022 WorldSBK Championship.

The Malaysian rider is one of six WorldSBK rookies turning their attentions to the production-based series for 2022 after penning a deal with the MIE Racing team to campaign a satellite Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade.

Also one of three riders to be making the transition from the GP classes, Syahrin follows the same path as factory Honda stablemates Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge.

The first south-east Asian rider to compete and score points in the premier class, Syahrin spent two seasons - 2018 and 2019 - in MotoGP with Tech 3 Racing aboard Yamaha and KTM machinery.

Scoring a best finish of ninth position, he fell just four points shy of clinching the 2018 ‘Rookie of the Year’ title over 2020 MotoGP runner-up Franco Morbidelli.

With a return to Moto2 - a class where he was a triple podium winner prior to MotoGP - yielding only modest success, Syahrin is primed for his fresh challenge as the first Malaysian since Adi Haslam in 1993.

 “It’s very exciting. There’s not pressure but I’m the only one like two years ago when I raced in MotoGP™ as the first Malaysian rider. I will try to do my best. I know my rivals, like the other rookies, have already done a few tests. I’m the only one, I think, who lacks a bit of testing because we know the team is preparing the bike." 

Paired with Leandro Mercado in the expanded two-man MIE Racing effort, Syahrin is confident of maintaining the team’s upward trajectory following a run of good results towards the close of the year.

“The bike improved race by race. I want to finish in the top ten in every race and try to give some challenge to everybody. I know some rivals from a few years, especially like Locatelli, Alvaro Bautista and some others who raced in the MotoGP paddock and then moved to WorldSBK. 

“And new rivals, for sure I want to learn from Toprak especially as he’s young and very fast, and a legend rider in WorldSBK, Jonathan Rea. It’s a big challenge for me but I’ll try to give everything I have. My experience from MotoGP™, I’ll try to use it in WorldSBK.”