Hafizh Syahrin looks set for imminent confirmation as Jonas Folger’s substitute at Tech3 Yamaha for the 2018 MotoGP season, after the Malaysian rider was officially replaced on the Moto2 grid.
Tech3 has been in a frantic search for a new rider because health problems meant Folger could not retain his place alongside Johann Zarco.
A Moto2 regular since 2014 and a three-time podium finisher, 23-year-old Syahrin had signed with intermediate-class newcomer SIC Racing Team – owned by Malaysia Grand Prix venue Sepang – for the upcoming season.
But this week there were increasing suggestions that Syahrin had become favourite for the Tech3 chance, and on Saturday SIC announced it had instead recruited another Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin on “short notice”.
Khairuddin moves up to Moto2 with six campaigns across 125cc and Moto3 under his belt, having finished a career-high seventh overall in the latter in 2012.
He has spent the past two seasons in the Supersport World Championship.
Tech3 team principal Herve Poncharal had previously stated he was not keen on considering riders under contract for the seat, and conceded at this week’s Sepang test that he was “struggling to find something that is exciting” in terms of potential replacements for Folger.
The team ran Yonny Hernandez (pictured above) in place of Folger during the first pre-season test, but a move for the Colombian would have been complicated by his existing Pedercini Kawasaki deal in World Superbikes.