Hafizh Syahrin will ride the sister Tech 3 KTM RC16 next year alongside Miguel Olivera, it was announced today.
This follows on from the shock news that Jorge Lorenzo will partner Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda next season, and the less shocking news that Danilo Petrucci will be Andrea Dovizioso’s team mate next year. This completes KTM’s line up for the first year they will run four bikes in the class.
With this being the first year that Tech 3 have not run Yamaha bikes in the premier class, all eyes will be on Syahrin to be team leader and help with development for 2019, with Olivera being promoted from Moto2 he will have to learn a MotoGP class bike. Syahrin has impressed since making the last minute move to Tech 3, after he got the late call to replace the ill Jonas Folger, and the highlights have included a points scoring debut, and a top ten ride in Argentina.
Syahrin said of the extension: “It’s hard for me to say and to believe. First of all, I have to say thank you very much to Hervé for trusting in me and giving me this opportunity to stay with the Tech3 family and at the same time to join the KTM family. I also have to express a huge thank you to my manager Dato’ Razlan, who helped me to achieve this dream arriving in the MotoGP class, plus thank you to KTM for believing in Hervé and in me. I will work hard for 2019 and I’ll be better prepared, as this is not as surprising as this season. I’m incredibly happy to get this chance, I even feel close to cry for joy. Thanks to everybody and especially to Hervé and Dato’ Razlan for always believing in me.”
This was echoed by Tech 3 owner and team boss Herve Poncharal, who said: “Today is a very special day for me and for the whole Tech3 team! Since Hafizh jumped on our MotoGP bike, it’s been like a dream, every single day, because he’s been very fast and a lot faster than some people were thinking and we’ve been very proud of what he did. I know it was a great achievement for a Malaysian rider to be the first one of his country arriving in the MotoGP class, for his first ever MotoGP race, he scored points and since that day he has been consistently battling for the top rookie spot and apart from that, Hafizh is a very special character. He is a very nice young man, very well educated, very humble, very respectful of everything, hard-working, wanting and wishing to learn a lot, which is what he is doing and a very funny guy, too, a fact I like a lot. Everybody who knows Tech3 a little bit, is aware that I always consider my team my family, I always try to have this family atmosphere in the garage. Hafizh fits in very well and he makes everybody laugh. From almost day one we started to work with him, I wanted to give Hafizh a second year, because year one is important to learn, but the second year is maybe even more important to prove yourself. Clearly, for us all to move to our new project with KTM, where we have the insurance that the four KTM on the grid in 2019 will be the same evolution, it’s going to be a massive boost for Hafizh. He will be on the same machine like Miguel Oliveira, Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro and this is a great challenge. I’m very proud to take this challenge together with Hafizh, always with the support of Razlan. I think we got the best rider, we could have picked for our 2019 line-up and I’m quite sure that Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin will be a strong package of new talented and ambitious riders. Tonight, we are a happy team, because everything is clear and decided, so welcome for another year, Hafizh!”
The full press release can be found here.
With the rider market becoming more clear by the day, there are still a few spots to be decided, mainly who will go to Suzuki for next season. We will keep you updated on this and any other move on Overtake Motorsport.