15 September 2013
San Marino MotoGP: Hernandez to Pramac, Laverty gets ART?
Yonny Hernandez leaves PBM for Pramac. Michael Laverty to take over ART? New replacement rider at PBM?
UPDATE: Pramac confirms 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."
Yonny Hernandez looks to have ridden his last race for the PBM team, with the Columbian set to switch to Pramac Ducati - in place of the injured Ben Spies - for the remainder of the 2013 MotoGP season.
This in turn could mean that Hernandez's team-mate Michael Laverty will take over PBM's lone ART machine, which the Ulsterman is due to test at Misano on Monday.
Rookie Laverty has been racing PBM's own Aprilia-powered motorcycle so far this year, with the standard ECU system, but had a highly impressive debut on an ART during winter testing at Sepang.
“Paul [Bird] said that if we're a lot faster on the ART bike tomorrow that we can finish the season on it and then put the replacement rider [for Hernandez] on my bike so we'll see how tomorrow goes,” said Laverty at Misano.
“Whether it's beneficial in the long run though depends on what Paul's plan is for next year and if he really wants to make our bike the one that he want's to improve on. If he does than it's beneficial to stay on what we've been running, but if we're half a second a lap faster and can bridge the gap to the FTRs then you've got to use the ART for the last five races of the season.
“You can see when following the ART that we're losing a bit under acceleration, we're getting a bit of movement rather than the engine lacking grunt and we're transferring the energy to the tyre and that's the main area where we need to improve.
“It will be interesting to test the ART bike tomorrow and see if it allows me to get that jump out of the corner.”
Hernandez, in his second season of MotoGP, has scored seven points so far this year and Laverty three.
Spies has been replaced for most of this season by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, with Moto2 star Alex de Angelis stepping in at Laguna Seca. Spies is now not expected to be fit for the remaining rounds and Pirro cannot continue at Pramac due to his Ducati testing duties.
"Thanks to the whole team for this great experience. It was nice to do so many races together, but now I must return to my test-rider work. Good luck," said Pirro, after finishing tenth in the Misano race.
It is not known who the PBM replacement for Hernandez may be, but BSB star Alex Lowes is rumoured to have a deal in place with the team for 2014.
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