The Tech3 Yamaha team has found its replacement for Jonas Folger, and the team’s choice is historical.
This year, Hafizh Syahrin will ride in Folger’s place. Syahrin is the first Malaysian to compete in MotoGP, despite the Asian country hosting MotoGP races for 26 years.
Last month, Folger announced he was taking a break from roadracing due to health concerns, leaving Yamaha’s Tech3 satellite team in a tight spot; management had very little time to find a replacement, and was unwilling to poach a rider from another team (although several other established riders were interested, apparently).
Now, Syahrin has earned that spot, with a solid three-day performance at the test in Thailand. His best lap was 1.7 seconds behind leader Dani Pedrosa (Honda); he finished in 22nd overall on the test, out of 24. Considering it was his first time aboard a MotoGP bike, that’s not embarrassing. He will have a chance to better those results at the next test, when MotoGP visits Qatar in the first week of March.