Yonny Hernandez To Replace Ben Spies For Rest Of 2013 Season

Yonny Hernandez is to replace the injured Ben Spies for the rest of the 2013 MotoGP season. So far, Spies' seat has been filled by Ducati tester Michele Pirro, but the stress of racing as well as working through a very busy test schedule has taken its toll on the young Italian. Furthermore, Pirro racing the three flyaways would have meant that testing would have ceased for the three-week duration, and with work in full swing for the 2014 season, that was not time Ducati had to lose.

Who will take Hernandez place at PBM is as yet unknown. Michael Laverty looks set to take Hernandez' ART machine for the rest of the season, while no clear favorite has yet emerged to take over the PBM Aprilia on the other side of the garage.

What this means for Spies' future is as yet uncertain. The Texan has a contract with Ducati for the 2014 season, but Spies' extended absence through injury has created tension in the Pramac team. There is unfounded paddock gossip that if Hernandez adapts well to the Desmosedici, he could take Spies' place next year. That, however, depends on a messy and expensive severance between Ducati and Spies. At the moment, such talk should be rated as improbable, but not entirely impossible.

Below is the press release from the Ignite Pramac team:

The Ignite Pramac Racing Team welcomes Yonny Hernandez

Starting from the official IRTA test, which takes place tomorrow at the Misano World Circuit, the Ignite Pramac Racing Team’s Ducati Desmosedici GP13 will be ridden by Yonny Hernandez, currently in force with the Paul Bird Motorsport team, due to the fact that Michele Pirro will be involved in a series of tests with the Ducati Test Team from tomorrow onwards.

The collaboration between the Italian squad and the British team, which is willing to free Yonny until the return of Ben Spies, has made it possible to reach this agreement.

The Pramac Racing Team and Ducati wish to thank Paul Bird Motorsport and the Colombian rider for their availability.

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News that Laverty will race the ART rather than 'his' PBM is a little surprising. while I understand comparative testing makes sense but where will it leave him, and the team, should he perform significantly better? Is this is any way suggestive that the PBM project (as a bike) is coming to an end, especially given talk of switching to HRC production racer?

Great work by Pirro and I'll miss his presence - he has more points than Iannello... and personally I can't see Spies returning to Pramac. I hope he recovers well and finds a ride that suits him if he does depart from Pramac.