Yonny Hernandez appears to be the favourite to stand in for the Tech 3 Yamaha team at the upcoming MotoGP test at Sepang as team boss Hervé Poncharal continues the search for a full-time replacement for Jonas Folger.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Folger would sit out the 2018 season as he seeks to fully recover from Gilbert’s syndrome, a genetic ailment that sidelined him from the final four races of last year.

In an official statement, Poncharal is quoted as saying, “I will try to find a solution for a replacement rider, which is a very difficult mission, as all of the fast riders are already contracted.”

A spokesperson for the French team informed Crash.net that a final decision on who would ride the second Tech 3 Yamaha M1 in Malaysia has yet to be taken, but it is believed Hernandez will ride there across the three days.

The Colombian, who is due to ride a Kawasaki ZX-10R for Pedercini Racing in World Superbike this year, will be present from the 28th to 30th of January to sample the M1 alongside full-time rider Johann Zarco.

Indeed Pedercini Racing team chief Lucio Pedercini told Italian sports daily Gazetta dello Sport that Poncharal had already contacted Hernandez about the possibility of riding at Sepang at the end of next week.

In an interview with paddock-gp.com, Poncharal stated he expects to have a full-time replacement for Folger in place by the second official preseason test of 2018 in Thailand, which begins on the 16th of February.

Hernandez has not ridden a MotoGP machine since the end of 2016, his last year as a full-time premier class rider. The Columbian spent an unsuccessful half season in Moto2 in 2017 with the AGR squad, but was replaced by American Joe Roberts during the summer break.

The 29-year old spent five seasons in the MotoGP class (2012-’16), enjoying stints aboard Avintia Blusens BQR, Paul Bird Motorsport’s ART, and in the Pramac and Aspar Ducati squads.