Monster Yamaha Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal has confirmed that Hafizh Syahrin is 'favourite' to complete the team's 2019 KTM MotoGP line-up.

Earlier in the day, Sepang CEO Razlan Razali said that the Malaysian rookie will remain on the grid next year, but not as part of a rumoured new satellite Yamaha team backed by Petronas.

Instead, Syahrin - parachuted into Tech3 after Jonas Folger's last-minute withdraw - looks on course to make the switch to KTM machinery with the French team.

"I have had quite a lot of interest in the second spot. Red Bull KTM now have Pol, Johann and Miguel Oliveira confirmed [for 2019], so we decided to wait a bit more to decide the fourth guy," said Poncharal, speaking in his office on Friday evening at Mugello.

"But I have always said I would like to try to retain Hafizh Syahrin. So he is of course on the list and I would say at the moment he is the favourite."

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Syahrin is currently just three points from reigning Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli in the battle to be MotoGP Rookie of the Year.

"I'm a sentimental guy and we were in big trouble when Jonas decided to stop and Hafizh saved us," Poncharal said. "Not only did we find a decent rider, who did much better than everyone expected, but also he is such a nice kid.

"He comes in the team and it's like it's been his family forever. He's so funny. He's humble, well educated. Honestly I love him and the whole team loves him. He fits really well in the team.

"A lot of people thought, 'Herve is taking Hafizh because he is from South East Asia and because Petronas would follow'. Which is not true.

"I took him because he is good on the bike, fast, doesn't do many mistakes - only one with the hard tyre on the warm-up in Texas. In Jerez he was injured in a bicycle crash and Le Mans he was back to full fitness and again best rookie. So I'm happy."

Poncharal admitted that, on paper, Syahrin would have been expected to be part of a new Petronas-backed MotoGP team.

"We've been hearing about the possibility of Petronas joining MotoGP for many years. It's been like a dream but until now never really came true. It looks like now it should be happening from 2019.

"So then you are thinking, 'first ever Malaysian rider in the MotoGP class, who was with Petronas until last year. First ever Malaysian rider scoring points...'

"There is a good story there and I know that everyone thinks, no matter what Petronas is going to do, Syahrin is going to be part of that project.

"But no. Why? I don't know."

Should Sepang conclude a deal for a place on the 2019 MotoGP grid, with Yamaha machinery, Lorenzo and Franco Morbidelli are tipped as the likely riders.

"Lorenzo [with Petronas], I think might happen. It depends what he's asking for…"