Johann Zarco will have been a happy man when told that Monster Yamaha Tech3 is keeping Hafizh Syahrin for the 2018 MotoGP season.

Syahrin was parachuted in alongside Zarco for the Buriram test in Thailand, finishing his MotoGP debut 22nd out of 24 riders.

The Malaysian only suffered one fall and set a best time 1.67s behind Zarco, who was fastest for much of the final day before Honda's Dani Pedrosa edged ahead in the final minutes.

Syahrin was Zarco's fifth different team-mate - after Kohta Nozane, Broc Parkes, Michael van der Mark and Yonny Hernandez - since Jonas Folger stepped back from racing in October.

Just before leaving the Chang International Circuit on Sunday, when it was still to be officially confirmed if Syahrin would remain at the team, Zarco was asked for his verdict on the 23-year-old's debut performance.

"Really happy for him, I hope we can keep him for the season, because he has a lot of humility and he's a very clean, very smooth rider," Zarco replied.

"Being smooth on the bike means he has more margin to grow up and be faster.

"It's never easy, but it looks like - compared to all the guys the team had since last season - he's the one with the most margin to improve. He is younger with more humility.

"So he is ready to sign..."

Zarco and Syahrin, who raced together in Moto2, will be reunited at the final pre-season test in Qatar from March 1-3.



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