Johann Zarco was named MotoGP Rookie of the Year in 2017. File pic by OSMAN ADNAN.

KUALA LUMPUR: Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali believes Johann Zarco is the perfect teammate for Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah in his first year in MotoGP.

Razlan said the Frenchman, who won the MotoGP Rookie of the Year award last year, is a very familiar figure among Malaysian riders and officials.

"I have known Zarco and his manager Laurent Fellon since he was racing in the 125cc class. He was Zulfahmi Khairuddin's teammate for one year (2011)," said Razlan.

"Don't forget that before we (SIC) setup our Moto3 team, our Moto2 team with Air Asia had featured Zarco as our rider and Johan Stigefelt as team manager. He did well to finish on the podium in a number of races that year (2014).

"We know him very well, he is very hardworking and both Laurent and Zarco are both very nice guys.

"We could not ask for a better teammate, Zarco will definitely be a huge reference for Hafizh to follow."

Zarco had in 2011 raced alongside Zulfahmi for Avant-AirAsia-Ajo in the 125cc class and in 2014 competed for the AirAsia Caterham Moto2 team under Stigefelt.

Stigefelt is currently managing both Petronas Sprinta Racing (Moto3) and SIC Racing Team (Moto2), which are both run by SIC.

Zarco had last year raced alongside German Jonas Folger for Monster Yamaha Tech 3, the latter, however, has been forced to sit out this season due to illness and has been replaced by Hafizh.

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