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Moto GP

Hafizh Syahrin becomes first Malaysian rider signed by a MotoGP outfit

Hafizh has been signed by Monster Yamaha Tech3 for the 2018 MotoGP season as a replacement for Jonas Folger who was ruled out due to illness.

BURI RAM, THAILAND - FEBRUARY 16:  Hafizh Syahrin of Malaysia and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 speaks with mechanics during the MotoGP Tests In Thailand on February 16, 2018 in Buri Ram, Thailand.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
Mirco Lazzari gpGetty Images

Hafizh Syahrin will become the first ever MotoGP’s Malaysian rider after being confirmed on Wednesday the new member of Monster Yamaha Tech3 for the upcoming MotoGp season.

The 23-year-old Malaysian signed a one-year contract as a replacement foe Jonas Folger, who on January announced that he would be taking a sabbatical from MotoGp after being diagnosed with Gilbert’s syndrome last year.

“Following Jonas Folger’s declaration not to contest in 2018, the entire Monster Yamaha Tech3 was trying to find the best solution to replace the German, thereby evaluating available riders. Finally, the French-based squad is very happy and proud to announce, that Hafizh Syahrin will be their second MotoGP rider this season, alongside Johann Zarco,” Tech3 announced on Wednesday.

Tech3 impressed with Hafizh’s rapid progress

The Malaysian has been a regular fixture of the Moto2 class since 2014, sealing two podium finishes on 2017.

Last week Hafizh was selected to join Tech3 for the second pre-season test in Buriram, Thailand. He finished the test 21st fastest, 1.756s off the pace, knocking 1.6 seconds off his best time from the opening day.

His performance earned him the praise from Tech3.

“After having impressed everyone with his rapid progress, his high motivation and his extraordinary learning curve during his first ever test aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 last week in Buriram, Thailand, Monster Yamaha Tech3 is eager to continue the great work together with the talented Malaysian youngster,” the team stated on its official website.

Hafizh: “I’m incredibly delighted”

The Malaysian, who began his career riding pocket bikes at age nine, said that his Tech3 signing is still “unbelievable” for him.

“I’m incredibly delighted after receiving the good news, that I will ride with Monster Yamaha Tech3 in 2018. Following three very interesting and great days of testing in Buriram, where I learned a lot, I want to thank my crew again, especially Nico and Maxime, but also Johann and Laurent for their advices,” Hafizh said.

“In just a short time, I really learned to fully control a MotoGP bike, which is still unbelievable for me. 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!”

Malaysian PM congratulates Hafizh

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak congratulated the national rider for becoming the newest member of the Tech3.

“Congratulations Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia’s first rider to compete in MotoGP for entire season,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Razlan Razali, Sepang International Circuit’s CEO, also congratulated Hafizh, saying that his signing is a fantastic news for the Southeast Asian region.

“The recent test in Buriram was already history made for Hafizh. This official announcement of Hafizh competing the full season with Monster Yamaha Tech3 team is the biggest announcement and achievement for a Malaysian rider after more than 26 years of Malaysia hosting MotoGP. It is also a fantastic news for the Asian region.”

Hafizh will race with Tech3 in the final pre-season test in Qatar on March 1-3, track where his MotoGP debut is expected to occur on March 18.


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