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Why Syahrin? Poncharal talks risk vs reward

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team Manager explains why he chose the Malaysian – “I like to take risks”

It’s a few weeks now since the news broke that Hafizh Syahrin would be the rider replacing the recovering Jonas Folger at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in 2018. Team Manager Herve Poncharal, who was pushing for the Malaysian to get the seat straight after his first test at Buririam, explains why it’s the ‘Pescao’ lining up as the fifth rookie this season.

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The desire to take risks: “As Ralf Waldmann, rest in peace, used to say, there’s a very thin line between zero and hero. When you choose a rider, there is always an element of risk. I like people who take risks and I do it too. In competition, you have to like the challenge – if you don’t, you’re in the wrong place.

Not being an official team: “Team Managers of the official factories can choose the best riders because they have more money to pay them and because they have the best bikes that are constantly improving, but that’s not a problem for us. Instead of signing a top rider, because I can’t, I prefer to take a risk on something that could turn out exciting. All the good riders were contracted: 30 year old riders with a lot of experience, and I respect that, and I knew they could be competitive but that we’d have a plain season, without too much excitement.”

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Not joking: “I met Ahmad Razali, the CEO of Sepang, and talking to him I had a crazy idea. I asked him, ‘What about Syahrin in MotoGP?’ He thought I was joking. The sponsors and suppliers were asking me who I was talking about; they’d never heard of him. From then on I had to convince everyone that he was a good rider. And I would have continued even if there had been more resistance. We’re here to enjoy ourselves.”

Syahrin on being a MotoGP™ rider

And now: “Now I’m really happy. I’m not saying he’s going to be the fastest but he’s doing well. I like choosing a rider who isn’t very well known, but we saw last year he has some spark. Last year when I was following Xavi Vierge, and I saw him fighting with him, I saw there was potential there with Syahrin. With human support and good bike, I had to try. I don’t like making the obvious choice.”