KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s first MotoGP team Petronas Yamaha SRT have stated they do not have any room for Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah should he fail to secure a race seat next season.
Petronas SRT team principal Razlan Razali made the comment as Hafizh struggled astride his new KTM machine in the season opener in Qatar two weeks ago. The 24-year-old finished in last place.
The Malaysian racer made headlines last season by becoming Malaysia and Southeast Asia’s first premier class rider when he joined current team Tech3 last season.
Razlan explained his team have signed their current riders, Italian Franco Morbidelli and Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, until 2020.
“I don’t want to add unnecessary stress on Hafiz. When people ask, ‘where will he be next season’ I don’t want them to pressure us into signing him,” he said.
“I don’t want him to think the easy way out is to join Petronas SRT. He must work hard this season, so he doesn’t repeat the same mistakes in Qatar.”
Razlan, who is also Sepang International Circuit CEO, advised Hafizh to adapt to his current KTM machine.
Last season French team Tech3 were using Yamaha bikes, but ended their partnership with the Japanese manufacturers to switch to KTM machinery this season.
“Hafizh is in trouble if he doesn’t figure out what went wrong in the first round. I want him to think about the longevity of his career in the premier class,” Razlan added.
“Getting the race seat last year is a blessing, but keeping it is another story.”
Razlan said Hafiz, who finished second to Morbidelli in the Rookie of the Year standings last season, will be given full support in terms of getting his fitness up.
He has been working with fitness coaches and psychologists from the National Sports Institute.
The next leg of the season is in Argentina which will be from March 29 till 31.