The line-up for next season in MotoGP is starting to be finalised as Tech 3 KTM signs Hafizh Syahrin for 2019. The Malaysian will join Portuguese KTM Moto2 racer Miguel Oliveira in the squad as they switch to Austrian motorcycles. It marks the end of two decades of Tech 3 fielding Yamahas in the premier class.
Syahrin is the first Southeast Asian to compete in MotoGP, having joined Tech 3 for 2018 as a late replacement for Jonas Folger, currently taking time away from racing to recover from Gilbert’s syndrome, which is a liver disorder. So far, Syahrin has a best finish of 9th in Argentina, with two 12th places in France and Italy. His current team-mate Johann Zarco has already signed for the Factory KTM team alongside Pol Espargaro (and leaving no ride currently for British MotoGP racer Bradley Smith).
Syahrin has been racing since the age of 13 in 2007 in various classes of the Asia Road Racing Championship. After competing in the Spanish Moto2 series, he took a third place as a wildcard after leading part of the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix after Anthony West was later disqualified and made more appearances in 2013. He signed with Petronas Raceline Malaysia for 2014 on a Kalex machine and finished 19th overall. He continued with the same team and improved to 16th overall in 2015, including a 5th at the Japanese Grand prix. And improved in 2016 with three top 4 finishes and 9th overall. He continued in Moto2 for 2017, taking two podiums, and finishing 10th overall.
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Director): “We are happy that Hafizh Syahrin extended his contract with Tech3. After his unexpected move to MotoGP he has had a decent season so far and is leading the ranking for ‘Rookie of the Year’. Furthermore he is a very professional and friendly young athlete. Together with Miguel Oliveira the rider line-up for our young Tech3 KTM MotoGP Team for the next season is now complete. I also want to express big thanks to Hafizh’s manager Razlan Razali for his trust in the newly built structure of Tech3 KTM. We’re looking forward to work together in the future.“
Hafizh Syahrin: “It’s hard for me to talk about this, and to believe it! First of all, I have to say thank you very much to Herve 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 Razlan, who helped me to achieve this dream arriving to 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. I’m incredibly happy to get this chance.”
The Tech 3 team has competed in the premier class since 2001 as the Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3 team with Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano. The team was originally founded by Herve Poncharal, Guy Coulon and Bernard Martignac in 1990 as a 250cc team, taking the 250cc title with Jacque first and Nakano second.
Notable Tech 3 riders include World Superbike champions Colin Edwards, Sylvain Guintoli and James Toseland. They also previously fielded Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso, and Pol Espargaro. Since 2010, they’ve also fielded a Moto2 team, currently with Bo Bendsneyder and Remy Gardner.