KUALA LUMPUR: The French Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday signaled a return to form for Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah and what could be the start of better things to come for former Moto3 star Khairul Idham Pawi.
Hafizh put his charge for the MotoGP Rookie of the Year title back on track as he emerged the top rookie in Le Mans, collecting four valuable points thanks to his 12th place finish.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider is now 17th in the overall MotoGP standings with 13 points and is the second highest ranked rookie after Italian Franco Morbidelli. The latter is 15th overall with 16 points.
Tech3 team principal Herve Poncharal said he is pleased with Hafizh's performance.
Hafizh had crashed out of the race in Austin last month and struggled at Jerez a fortnight ago due to injuries he had picked up in a cycling accident.
"We are very happy with Hafizh who is back to his normal form and was the best rookie. Unfortunately, he lost a lot of time (battling) behind Morbidelli, otherwise I think a top 10 could have been highly possible,” said Poncharal.
"(We will conduct) some tests in a few days in Barcelona which will for sure help him to understand his MotoGP bike even more, but we are truly pleased with what Hafizh has been doing all weekend long.
"All the time he has a smile on his face, he is learning and shows a great attention to everything the team are telling him, plus (he has) good speed. We are very proud of him."
In Moto2, Khairul notched his first points finish of the season after coming in 15th. It was only the third time he has finished in the points since moving up to the intermediate class last year.
The Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider grabbed headlines worldwide after powering to two stunning wins in the wet during his rookie season in Moto3 in 2016 but has found it tough to adapt to Moto2.
He, however, has shown positive improvements since Jerez earlier this month where he finished 18th and should aim to build on his momentum at the Italian Motorcycle Grand Prix early next month.
SIC Racing Team's new signing Nicki Tuuli made a decent start to his campaign in Moto2 with a 22nd place finish in Le Mans but it was a hugely disappointing outing for Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) in Moto3 who suffered crashes in both qualifying and the race.