The 2017 season was a year of learning for the Malaysian Moto2-rookie, Khairul Idham Pawi. Throughout the year, Pawi made solid progress while gaining experience with the Moto2 machinery, completing 15 of the 18 championship races. 19-year-old Pawi, a.k.a. Super KIP looked back his first year of the intermediate category, calm and frank.
—The 2017 season was very tough for you. Looking back, how did you feel?
“Yes, 2017 was quite a difficult season. It's my first year on a Moto2 bike, which would never be easy. So, I just kept on believing in myself and tried to improve race by race. I struggled because I started from scratch with Moto2, but now I have gained a year of experience so that we will be able to try to get good results next year.”
—What was most difficult in getting used to the Moto2 bike?
“In 2016, I rode in the Moto3 World Championship for only one year before moving to Moto2. So, let’s say, I have less experience. For that reason, I had a lot to learn even after I came to Moto2 class.”
—If you compare your rookie season in Moto3 and this year, which was tougher?
“This year of course! Before the start of the 2016 season in Moto3, I had expected that it would be very a difficult year and never thought of the possibility of a podium. My target was just doing my best. Fortunately, I won two races, in Argentina and Germany. Compared to those results, I struggled in all of this year's races.”
—What did you learn from this year's tough experiences?
“A lot. I learned a lot this year about riding a Moto2 bike, and I am still on the way to finding the secret of riding fast in Moto2.”
—So what are you missing, to go fast?
“When you check the data, you will find I miss something in braking, carrying good speed in turns, acceleration at the exit…maybe everything! But anyway, I think what I miss most is the experience. When I gain more experience, I can improve more and more.”
—How did you bring yourself through and manage yourself when you were struggling?
“It is difficult to explain…but I always tried to keep positive. I also tried not to lose my confidence. Even when I didn’t get good results, I could always find something good to learn from that race, which I could exploit in the next races. I always try to keep this positive way of thinking. In fact, I learned a lot from this year’s difficult experiences.”
—From 2016 to 2017, did you change your training program?
“Yes, of course. This year, I changed my training from last year, because Moto2 is more demanding, especially physically. At home, I train almost every day. I go cycling, go to the gym to work out, and ride my bike; doing motocross on a CRF450, and road race training on a CBR600. I will keep on training this way and work harder during the winter break in Malaysia.”
—When it comes to Malaysia, quite a lot of spectators came to see the Malaysian Grand Prix this year. Do you feel that the popularity of MotoGP is surging?
“Sure. MotoGP is very popular in our country, and this year a lot of people came to the Sepang Circuit to see the race, and to see Marc Marquez and many top riders. I just hope this popularity keeps on increasing!”
—And now you are also one of the popular riders, aren’t you?
“I am very happy that Malaysian people support me. It gives me extra motivation. But to be honest, I am a normal guy living a normal life.”
— You choose No.89 for your bike number. Is there any special reason for it?
“Normally, I choose No.98. Actually, I used No.98 in the FIM CEV Championship. But when I came to the Moto3 World Championship, someone already had No.98. So, I had to give it up and chose 89 instead."
— Why did you choose 98?
“It's simple. I was born in 1998!”
—Finally, what is your objective for the 2018 season?
“To ride better than this year. I want to get championship points in every race. To make it happen, I will try to do my best and train as hard as possible this winter!”