Petronas Sprinta Racing has confirmed Khairul Idham Pawi will stay within the team to move back to Moto3 for 2020 – opening up a slot in its Moto2 team to be filled by Jake Dixon.

The Malaysian rider has endured a nightmare 2019 Moto2 campaign due to a finger injury, initially sustained during the Jerez round back in May, which has required three operations and ruled him out of the remainder of the season.

The Sepang-run squad has confirmed Pawi will remain in its fold for 2020 switching back to Moto3 alongside the already-announced John McPhee. Pawi produced two stunning wins in his rookie Moto3 campaign back in 2016 before three tricky seasons in the intermediate class.

“I’m delighted to stay with the team for another year because it feels like one big family,” Pawi said. “I told them that I wanted to return to Moto3, and they’ve given me a great opportunity.

“It’s something that I want to make the most of because in 2016 I only had one year in the championship and I think I’ve still got things to learn. Having an experienced rider like John alongside me will be really useful for me too.

“My target for 2020 is to try and be at the front of the group. The recovery from my injury is taking a long time, which has been disappointing. There’s not much that I’ve been able to do apart from keeping working, but hopefully this latest operation will help me to recover.”

Pawi will miss the rest of the 2019 Moto2 season recovering from injured, and will be replaced by fellow Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin, but with Pawi heading to Moto3 next year it opens up a second spot in the team’s Moto2 line-up.

Having already announced Xavi Vierge, British rider Dixon is to join the team from the Angel Nieto squad.

While the team remains tight-lipped on an official confirmation, team principal Razlan Razali is pleased to secure Pawi’s future and is confident once fully fit he can fight at the front in Moto3 next year.

“After spending a lot of time analysing the options we decided with KIP that the best course was to ensure the best treatment possible for his hand injury, allowing time for full recuperation in 2019, rather than pushing for a return to Moto2,” Razali said.

“By KIP returning to Moto3 next year, he will be in an environment where he has stood on the top step before and we will be targeting strong results.

“Now the focus for KIP is his full recovery and he has our complete support in this. For the rest of the 2019 Moto2 season, Adam Norrodin will continue to ride as a part of his development programme.”