Replacement Merry-Go-Round: Cudlin In For Hernandez, Scassa Replaces Abraham, Salom In For Baz, And WSBK Wildcards

As the end of the season approaches, the punishment which the riders have taken is starting to take its toll. With several riders out or moved, replacements are being sought to complete the season, or at least fill in for the next race.

In the MotoGP class, the knock on effect of Ben Spies' extended absence means that a vacancy arose at the PBM team. With Michele Pirro unable to race in the overseas triple header, dedicating himself to testing for the remainder of the year, Yonny Hernandez has been moved to the Ignite Pramac squad for the last five races of the year, as was announced after the Misano test. That meant that Hernandez' spot at PBM needed filling, preferably by a rider with some kind of Grand Prix experience. That rider has now been found, and Damian Cudlin is to take the place of Hernandez at the next round of MotoGP at Aragon. Whether Cudlin will continue at PBM after Aragon is yet to be determined. Cudlin has GP experience, having replaced Hector Barbera in 2011 at Motegi and Phillip Island. He has also raced both as a wildcard and as a replacement rider in Moto2.

Luca Scassa will also be making an appearance as a replacement rider. The Italian will be taking the place of the injured Karel Abraham at Cardion AB, initially for the Aragon race. Depending on Scassa's performance, the Italian could replace Abraham for the remainder of the season. Scassa has had a checkered career, having raced in World Supersport, World Superbike and the AMA. His best season came in 2011, when he challenged Chaz Davies for the WSS title for much of the year.

There is also a replacement in the World Superbike series. WSBK regular and current WSS rider David Salom will be taking the place of Loris Baz in the Kawasaki Racing Team for this weekend's Laguna Seca round of WSBK, racing alongside Tom Sykes. Salom is not the only replacement rider at Laguna Seca: Michel Fabrizio will continue to replace the injured Jonathan Rea at Pata Honda, and Blake Young is in for Leon Camier at the Fixi Crescent Suzuki team. 

The WSBK grid will be boosted at Laguna Seca, with Roger Hayden and Danny Eslick entered to compete as wild cards. The Jordan Motorsports team entered the two men for the World Superbike round, citing a lack of TV coverage of the AMA series, which is also racing on the same weekend, as the reason for choosing WSBK over the AMA series they normally compete in, according to a report on the Roadracing World website.

Below is the press release from Cardion AB announcing Scassa to replace Abraham:

Italian WSS rider Luca Scassa to replace injured Karel Abraham

The Italian rider Luca Scassa will replace Karel Abraham in the Czech Cardion AB Motoracing team in the next round of MotoGP in Aragon. Until now Scassa competed in WSS championship for the Czech team Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress.

Karel Abraham, manager Cardion AB Motoracing

„Luca has ridden more then fifty races in WSBK and he has enough experiences to run on the MotoGP bike and to jump to the championship. It was important for us to find a rider, who can manage so specific machine as the Motogp bike is and who knows the circuits where next five races will take place. The first race waiting for us is next weekend in Aragon, where Luca achieved this year´s best result in WSS. Our aim is to get Luca feel comfortable with the bike and try to improve the lap time step by step during the weekend. Then we will decide if we will continue together also in remaining races.“

Luca Scassa – profile of the rider

Freshly thirty years old rider started his career in 1999. He became the 2003 champion in Superstock 600 class in very well occupied Italian Championship. Next year he changed to the Superstock class. In 2007 he began a "superbike" era in American AMA Championship and he raced in the World Superbike Championship in 2009 and 2010, the first season for Kawasaki and the other for Ducati. He did his best 7th position twice, finished 27th overall, respectively 17th. Luca returned to WSS in 2011 winning first two races of the season. After a series of problems he ended the championship on the fifth place with three wins and four podium finishes. After one year in BSB Luca turned back to WSS, joining Czech team Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress. He stays on 6th overall position with 74 points two races before the end of the season

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The Jordan Suzuki team made a very impressive decision. While his team has been on the podium several times this season and have been in front of the Yoshimura Suzuki at times, they were not in the hunt for an AMA title. That will go to one of the factory Yamaha's or possibly the single Yosh Suzuki.

Why not get better media coverage and see where his team really stands? On the day, Roger Hayden can be very good. He needs a tad more consistency and the team had a few mistakes. Eslick won't win but is a joy to watch (think Randy Mamola).

Happy to see there are now at least three Americans with the possibility of making the top five and a shot of a podium. They are all very hungry.

That is interesting, I thought one of the reasons AMA riders did not wild card is the extreme difference in the rules for bikes.

That is one thing that will make it interesting. Hayes's qualifying time for the AMA round at Laguna would have put him on the MotoGP grid ahead of a few CRT's. It looks as though kitted stock forks and standard swingarms are really not so inferior to the mega-$ WSBK gear. The engine specs are closer to WSBK than are the chassis specs.

Of course they will need to adapt their set-up to the Pirelli tyres, which will be a big challenge.

What are his plans for next season? With BMW out does he have any options? I'm a huge fan of Davies and I'd love to see him racing SOMEWHERE. With the double at Aragon and some really great results I think its clear he's got the talent. Anyone heard anything?

Really happy for Cudlin. Otherwise known as Damo to his fans, and a highly amusing columnist for a high profile Motorcycle Magazine here in Australia, he'll always give more than 100% and had some decent rides in Moto2, I believe 7th was best ? (correct me if wrong) at least he'll get to ride something a bit more forgiving, if less fast, than the Pramac Ducati which tossed him to the heavens and took a chunk out of his hip at Phillip Island... Nice one Damo! Hope he gets to stay for the island race too cause he'd get a decent result there, plus I'll get to see it at the track - bonus !