Josh Herrin Dropped From Caterham Moto2 Ride, Ratthapark Wilairot To Replace Him For Rest Of 2014

Josh Herrin's difficult debut year in Moto2 has come to a premature end. The AirAsia Caterham Moto2 team today announced that from the Misano round of MotoGP, Thai rider Ratthapark Wilairot will take the place of the 24-year-old Californian. Wilairot is currently riding in the World Supersport championship for the Core PTR Honda team, but the remaining WSS schedule will allow the Thai rider to compete in both series. Wilairot already subbed for Herrin when the American broke his collarbone in a training accident back in April.

Wilairot is no stranger to Moto2, having competed in the class from its inception in 2010, and in the 250cc class it replaced before that. The Thai rider was forced out of Moto2 in the middle of last season, when he lost support of his sponsors in the Gresini team mid-season.

As for Josh Herrin, the American has struggled throughout his time in Moto2. The reigning AMA Superbike champion has found it hard to adapt to the Dunlops used in Moto2, which, in combination with the stiffness and adjustibility of a Moto2 chassis, require a totally different riding style and allow the rider to brake much further into the corner. The depth and competitiveness of the field have also presented a huge challenge: in a class where fourteen or fifteen riders are all within a second of each other, it is easy to slip a long way down the grid by losing just a couple of tenths. Coming in to Moto2 as reigning AMA Superbike champion only served to raise the pressure on the American, and created expectations it was hard to live up to. Those expectations were made even tougher by the ease with which reigning World Supersport champion Sam Lowes and Moto3 champ Maverick Viñales adapted to the class.

The departure of Herrin means there will not be a single American on the Grand Prix grid at Misano, a low point for US racing. Many insiders believed that Herrin was the wrong rider to make the switch to Grand Prix racing, with both US and Grand Prix experts preferring to see either Cameron Beaubier or Jake Gagne back in the Grand Prix paddock. Both riders know the circuits, having raced in both the Red Bull Rookies and, in Beaubier's case, in 125s back in 2009. Herrin got the call as he was available, unlike Beaubier, and could attract a certain amount of financial support for the team.

The press release issued by the team appears below:

Ratthapark Wilairot joins AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing

AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing can today announce that Ratthapark Wilairot will join the team at the Grand Prix of San Marino and Riviera di Rimini.

Wilairot will replace Josh Herrin on the Caterham Suter for the remainder of the 2014 season.

Following his impressive debut with the team at the Jerez GP, the 26 year old Thai rider was an obvious choice to contest the final six rounds of the Moto2 Championship.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager: “We have decided to replace Josh with Ratthapark. It was not an easy decision but it was necessary in order to try to bring better results on that side of the garage.

“We are here to be competitive with two riders and the expectations were made clear from the start of the season. Unfortunately these goals have not been met, despite our best efforts and support to Josh.

“We wish Josh all the best for the future and at the same time welcome Ratthapark to our team. I am happy that Ratthapark is joining us as we know he has the ability to battle for the points and can help us to gain good results, so let’s now see how we can improve for the final six races of the season.”

Ratthapark Wilairot: “Firstly I have to say thank you very much to Tony Fernandes, Mia Sharizman, Johan Stigefelt and AirAsia for giving me this big present to ride in Moto2 until the end of the season. Also I want to thank CORE and PTR who have allowed me to do my favourite career.

“I am feeling fresh and excited to get back into the Moto2 garage, especially with the AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing Team. I made one race at Jerez already this year with them and I really enjoyed it! All the people in the team are working hard and helped me a lot with everything; it’s like a big family.

“I hope to repay them for this opportunity by doing a good job and achieving positive results for the remaining six races. In Jerez we worked well together and gained valuable information for set up with the Caterham Suter bike, so I am confident that we can build on this.

“My target is to score points and finish in the top fifteen. I will open the gas and get near to the top guys.”

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Herrin certainly wasn't going to be invited back next year so this move, as sad as it is for the young American, makes sense for the team. I was definitely one of those wondering why it was Herrin when they announced it last year but hoped for the best. With the instability of road racing in America at the moment I can't imagine that anyone in the GP paddock is looking to the states for talent. Herrin's lack of results must have tempered any interest in the product of AMA road racing in the near future.

This week has been a rollercoaster for US motorcycling fans. No US represenation at Misano coming up but the hope of a new domestic racing series in 2015. C'mon PJ Jacobsen!!!

I don't think too many Americans regarded Herrin as more than a "better than average" "superbike" rider. Putting him on a Moto2 race bike always seemed odd to me, too, but like you said I hoped for the best and waited to see what would happen. Sadly, it went so much worse than I could have ever imagined and it further cemented this idea that the U.S. is devoid of talent. :(

We've got some young talent in Beaubier, Gange, and maybe Jacobson so I hope they can get chances and continue to grow.

As for Herrin, he should look for rides in a European Superbike series like CEV or BSB. If he can re-find himself, he's a decent superbike rider.

I've seen many a videos of him riding a Supermoto and looking pretty good. I've never seen him ride in person though. Has he not had his lady friend with him this season? I know from experience, at that age you are still mostly thinking about booty! lols. He's always seemed like he was trying to focus on getting better and learning, watching him in the AMA years past. Hope he can find a new ride and show more of his speed as he has shown before.

As an American race fan, I'm bummed.

Josh is a great rider and I enjoyed watching him in AMA. I've seen him a few times at my home track, New Jersey Motorsports Park and as someone who has logged about 600 laps there, I couldn't figure out how that little guy was getting so much speed out of a super bike on the track. It was impressive.

It goes to show just how deep the talent pool in MotoGP/Moto2/Moto3 is. It takes more than a half a season to learn the tracks, the bike and shake off some early demons, so for that, I feel for Josh. I hope this doesn't end his career. he'd be great in WSS. Pair him up with PJ Jacobesen, let him get his confidence back on the kind of bike he knows and let him prove himself worthy of WSBK.

Hopefully, Mr. Rainey will be able to make a more sensible run at MotoAmerica or whatever they're calling it. If we can emulate the world series better, it will give American's a better chase to succeed on the global circuit.

I watched him tear it up at MidOhio a few years back on the 600. He made passes on parts of the track that no one else would even attempt. Despite his results in Moto2 he is a RACER. The few times he got close to the points this year he was always involved in a scrap and seemed to gain positions and improve on his grid spot. Bummed for sure.

Any fans who get a chance to ride on a track with any sort of world class racer would know just how stupid fast they really put me into perspective when the wildcard racer who was lapping us, got lapped in the actual race by Pedrosa and Lorenzo during the 250GP days I have racers at trackdays that struggled to get into the show in AMA to remind me how awfully slow I am :D I always tell my friends that do not ride "Their out lap is faster than my hot lap..."

I hope Josh Herrin would get another chance in WSS...not any easier but at least the machinery may "feel" familiar.

I'm also bummed...

I've been following Herrin since he's first podium in Utah when he was 16 :(

Whatever happened? Did he got bullied out by the piranhas of Moto2? Certainly, you that class looks just like a piranha infested river and if you want to survive you need to be a piranha yourself, it looks to me Herrin it's a little more "on the conservative side of things"... I was left waiting for his "explosion" but it never happened...sad day....

... paying close attention saw this coming before Herrin even threw a leg over a Moto2 machine. Perhaps not a midseason-sacking, but if you can't outright thwart the reigning-AMA champ Josh Hayes (and Herrin couldn't), I don't see how competing against the Moto2 legions seems feasible (turns out it wasn't).

As has been written before, I really hope Herrin's Moto2 inadequacy doesn't close the door for other, more capable American hopefuls... but it's probably made things even harder than before.

The wrong Josh went to Moto2. Josh Hayes is "the man" right now in America and should have been given the opportunity to show his talent on the world stage.

If he was 10 years younger he would be there and doing well I have no doubt. A poll of American race fans should determine who gets to go on the world scene, not the marketing exec for the company that owns the brand of motorcycle or race series!

Josh had all the right ingredients to be successful. He just wasn't ready yet. I think his eyes will be opened if he gets another shoot at the world stage.