Chris departed the BBC Two motoring show after just one series last July, amid poor reviews and falling viewing figures, but failed to tell Matt about his decision, and his avoided him since.
Speaking to The Sun ahead of the new series, Matt explained: “I did not know what was coming until I read that in the paper.
Despite Chris keeping his distance, Matt has insisted they actually got on while they worked together.
Bosses decided ask Matt to step up, rather than hiring a new host, last September, with Director of BBC Studios Mark Linsey saying at the time: “Matt was hugely popular with ‘Top Gear’ viewers last series with his humour, warmth and obvious passion for cars and for the show, so I couldn’t be more delighted that he’s agreed to come back and do more for us.”
Contributors Eddie Jordan and Sabine Schmitz will also be returning for the new series.
‘Top Gear’ returns on Sunday 5 March at 8pm on BBC Two.