Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR: Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah has downplayed his chances of taking the MotoGP Rookie of the Year title though he is still hoping to give his peers in the category a run for their money.

Hafizh, who only yesterday confirmed his seat with Monster Yamaha Tech 3, said he is lacking in experience compared to his fellow rookies.

"I am not too sure about that (best rookie), maybe I can be competitive among the rookies but it is not my main target,” said the 23-year-old.

"Franco Morbidelli, Tom Luthi, Takaaki Nakagami and Xavier Simeon have had more chances to get used to the bike than I have. I have only been able to test at Buriram so far. The next test is at Qatar and after that, racing starts.

"That is only a total of six days on the bike while these guys have had five test sessions (15 days), a lot more than six days, under their belts.

The team will head to Qatar for testing on March 1-3. The first race of the season will be on March 18, also in Qatar.

Hafizh is unsure whether Tech 3 will utilise either the 2016 or 2017 Yamaha chassis for this season.

Teammate Johann Zarco had used both chassis during the recent Buriram test and preferred the older chassis.

"The team have not decided yet which chassis will start in Qatar but they have told me that I will be using the chassis used by Zarco.

"I think my riding style is well suited to Yamaha bikes. I will try to be as smooth as I can and avoid aggressive moves.

"I have been told that we will be doing long runs at the next Qatar test to simulate race situations. This will help me understand and manage situations such as tyre degradation.

"I look to gain a better understanding in Qatar and build on what I have learnt in Buriram. I definitely do not want to be three or four seconds off the leader."

Hafizh added that he will continue to stay at Sepang International Circuit's European training base in Spain with Adam Norrodin and Zulfahmi Khairuddin as Tech 3's base in Southern France is only four hours by road.

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