MALAYSIA will have its first rider in MotoGP history with Tech3 Yamaha locking in Hafizh Syahrin for the 2018 season.
The 23-year-old will graduate from the Moto2 class, slotting into the French squad alongside dual Moto2 champ Johann Zarco as a late replacement for Jonas Folger after the standout rookie withdrew last month due to health reasons.
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“I’m incredibly delighted after receiving the good news, that I will ride with Monster Yamaha Tech3 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’s endorsement comes after making his debut on a MotoGP bike in testing at the Buriram circuit in Thailand last weekend.
He impressed Tech3 Team boss Herve Poncharal with his enthusiastic approach to the task and his progress across his first three days on the bike, cutting his deficit to the fastest time from 2.3 seconds down to 1.7 over the course of the test.
“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,” Poncharal said.
“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.”
MotoGP has one more preseason test at Doha ahead of the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar on March 15-18.