By Barry Russell
Last week's news that Yonny Hernandez's CRT ride with Avintia Racing BQR is in doubt for financial reasons has been followed by a report in El Blog Del Mundial de Motociclismo that Venezuelan Robertino Pietri will have five wild-card MotoGP rides for the team in 2012.
Pietri raced in AMA Superstock and Superbike from 2007 to 2009 before spending two seasons on Suter machines in Moto2, during which time he picked up a single point in 2010. Pietri tested the BQR MotoGP bike at Valencia last November (pictured).
News of the 26-year-old journeyman joining motorcycle racing's premier-class is likely to add to concerns that many CRTs will present slow-moving hazards to the manufacturer prototypes in 2012.
If Hernandez is indeed forced to withdraw from MotoGP, European Superstock runner-up Ivan Silva will be the sole regular rider on the Spanish team's FTR-Kawasakis in 2012.
UPDATE: According to MotoGP.com, BQR has announced that Pietri and Jordi Torres will act as development riders and join Silva in the first 2012 MotoGP test at Sepang, which starts on January 31.
The team also stated that Pietri's five proposed wild-card rides may not come at the expense of Hernandez, although they confirmed that the Columbian needs to find funding to be a full-time 2012 MotoGP rider.
Hernandez is unable to test at Sepang since 'he is not yet fully recovered from a surgery on his left hand'.