It has probably been the worst kept secret in MotoGP’s paddock in years, but today, to nobody’s surprise, it has been finally confirmed. Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin becomes an official MotoGP rider to replace Jonas Folger, who will not take part in the season due to physical health issues.

After announcing that, team principal Hervé Poncharal admitted that it was going to be difficult to find an interesting replacement rider for the German since many drivers already had deals with different teams.

On the first week of testing in Sepang, the chosen rider to test with Folger‘s Yamaha was Yonny Hernández, who has previous experience in MotoGP. The Colombian rider, however, was not going to be the definitive replacement as he had just confirmed his presence in WSBK with a private Kawasaki entry.

It was during the weeks before the testing session in Buriram when the most likely candidate’s identity was revealed. Hafizh Syahrin would not race in Moto2 in 2018 and would be replaced by Zulfahmi Khairuddin. The Malaysian driver was also confirmed to test with the Yamaha in Thailand.

It seemed completely obvious that Syahrin would be Folger‘s replacement, but the team decided to wait until the end of the testing days in Thailand to evaluate his performance and officially announce it.

“I’m incredibly delighted after receiving the good news that I will ride with Monster Yamaha Tech3 in 2018,” says Syahrin. “Following three very interesting and great days of testing in Buriram, where I learned a lot, I want to thank my crew again, especially Nico and Maxime, but also Johann and Laurent for their advices. In just a short time, I really learned to fully control a MotoGP bike, which is still unbelievable for me. I’ll try to do my best and will give all I have this year. I want to thank Hervé, Yamaha Motor Corporation, Monster and the entire Tech3 team to believe in me and giving me this fantastic opportunity to compete full season in MotoGP. Thank you to my family, that always supported me to make this dream come true, especially my father, plus thanks to my fans and of course to Razlan. I’m looking forward to test again in Qatar and I’ll be even more motivated. Honestly, I can’t wait for the season to start. I’m just overwhelmed!”

The Malaysian rider ended last year in tenth position of the Moto 2 World Championship with tho podium finishes. Despite being new to the premier class, he is known for being one of the best riders of the grid on wet conditions, so he can achieve great things when it rains.

The 2018 MotoGP season will start the 18th of March with the already classic Qatar GP night race as the season opener.