Hafizh Syahrin has secured a contract extension with Tech3 for 2019 when the team will switch from Yamaha to KTM machinery.

The first-ever Malaysian MotoGP rider became the last-minute replacement to Jonas Folger at Tech3 after the German confirmed he would miss the full 2018 season in order to recover from illness. Despite limited pre-season testing ahead of his rookie MotoGP campaign, Syahrin has impressed Tech3 and with continued backing from SIC the Malaysian will stay at the team for 2019.

It was confirmed during the Mugello MotoGP race weekend Syahrin would be staying in MotoGP but not inside the Yamaha fold. Earlier this year Tech3 confirmed it would end its Yamaha association to become the satellite KTM squad from 2019, while also signing KTM Moto2 rider Miguel Oliveira for next year, and Syahrin says he’s relishing the challenge and the opportunity to join the team in the move.

“It’s hard for me to say and to believe,” Syahrin said. “First of all, I have to say thank you very much to Hervé for trusting in me and giving me this opportunity to stay with the Tech3 family and at the same time to join the KTM family.

“I also have to express a huge thank you to my manager Dato' Razlan, who helped me to achieve this dream arriving in the MotoGP class, plus thank you to KTM for believing in Hervé and in me. I will work hard for 2019 and I’ll be better prepared, as this is not as surprising as this season.

“I’m incredibly happy to get this chance, I even feel close to cry for joy. Thanks to everybody and especially to Herve and Dato' Razlan for always believing in me.”

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Tech3 team manager Herve Poncharal says he’s proud to see the first Malaysian rider in MotoGP achieve immediate success despite his late call-up and feels his 2019 rider line-up of Syahrin and Oliveira is “a strong package of new talented and ambitious riders.”

“Today is a very special day for me and for the whole Tech3 team,” Poncharal said. “Since Hafizh jumped on our MotoGP bike, it’s been like a dream, every single day, because he’s been very fast and a lot faster than some people were thinking and we’ve been very proud of what he did.

“I know it was a great achievement for a Malaysian rider to be the first one of his country arriving in the MotoGP class, for his first ever MotoGP race, he scored points and since that day he has been consistently battling for the top rookie spot and apart from that, Hafizh is a very special character.

“From almost day one we started to work with him, I wanted to give Hafizh a second year, because year one is important to learn, but the second year is maybe even more important to prove yourself.

“Clearly, for us all to move to our new project with KTM, where we have the insurance that the four KTM on the grid in 2019 will be the same evolution, it’s going to be a massive boost for Hafizh. He will be on the same machine like Miguel Oliveira, Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro and this is a great challenge.

“I think we got the best rider, we could have picked for our 2019 line-up and I’m quite sure that Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin will be a strong package of new talented and ambitious riders.”

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