For the very first time in MotoGP history, there will be a Malaysian rider on the grid. Tech 3 Yamaha have confirmed that Hafizh Syahrin will partner Johann Zarco for the 2018 season. The 23-year-old will move up from the Moto2 class as a late replacement for Jonas Folger. The German was forced to withdraw last month due to health reasons.
Syahrin said, “I’m incredibly delighted after receiving the good news, that I will ride with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in 2018,” he said. I’ll try to do my best and will give all I have this year. I’m looking forward to test again in Qatar and I’ll be even more motivated. Honestly, I can’t wait for the season to start. I’m just overwhelmed!”
Syahrin isn’t completely foreign to the bike as he made his debut on a MotoGP bike in the recently concluded Buriram test in Thailand last weekend. His results were enough to impress Tech 3 Team boss Herve Poncharal. During the 3-day test, his progress was crystal clear, the gap to the fastest time was slashed from 2.3 seconds down to 1.7.
Poncharal said, “We had to convince all the people around us, that Hafizh is going to be a good MotoGP rider. Therefore, we had to give him a tough task during the three days of testing in Buriram. In the end, he did a tremendous job, he fulfilled the mission. Yamaha was more than happy with his performance and the whole Tech3 team was delighted. I am very honored and proud to give him this chance and I know this is going to be something historical, because it’s the first time that a Malaysian rider is racing a full season on a MotoGP bike and we know how popular our sport in this part of the world is.”
Folger’s illness was unfortunate and his talent will sorely be missed. But now, Hafizh Syahrin has a chance to prove himself in the big leagues.