KUALA LUMPUR: The last two rounds of the World Championship have not exactly gone to plan for MotoGP Rookie of the Year contender Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah.

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider struggled in qualifying at Silverstone where he settled for second last on the grid before the race was called off due to bad weather.

The Malaysian faced a similar situation at Misano last week where he was again second last on the grid and finished the race out of the points in 19th. This allowed main rival Franco Morbidelli, who placed 12th (four points) in the race, to overtake him atop the rookie standings.

Tech 3 team principal Herve Poncharal admitted that the San Marino Grand Prix was a tough outing but is maintaining an optimistic outlook.

"We knew it (Misano) was going to be difficult. The fact that we haven't been testing here did not help us," said Poncharal.

"There will be tracks which are better for us and for Yamaha (teams) but right now it is a bit of a struggle... I think Aragon will be a bit easier.

"Hafizh had a much better (race) day than the rest of the weekend, He did a good race, passed quite a few riders and did some decent lap times. Hopefully Aragon will also be easier for him.

"Anyway, this is his rookie season, he is going through a learning process and just lost two points to Morbidelli. But we are still there (in the rookie title race) and hopefully there will be tracks where we can be closer and in front again."

Hafizh is 17th in the overall MotoGP standings with 24 points. He is second in the rookie standings, two points behind leader Morbidelli (16th overall, 26 points.

Six rounds remain in the championship with Aragon, where Hafizh finished 16th in Moto2 last year, the next stop on Sept 21-23.

(File pic) The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider, Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah. (NSTP/ROSELA ISMAIL)

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