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MotoGP Japan: Barbera replaces Iannone, Mike Jones joins Avintia!

Hector Barbera gets factory Ducati chance - Australian Mike Jones to make MotoGP debut.
Hector Barbera will join the factory Ducati team for this weekend's Japanese MotoGP, with Australian Mike Jones taking his seat at Avintia, team sources have confirmed.

Barbera, tenth and the top satellite Ducati in the world championship standings, is stepping in to replace the injured Andrea Iannone.

The Spaniard will thus jump an entire generation of Desmosedici, swapping his usual 2014 bike for a dream chance on the race-winning 2016 model - the machine he will use at Avintia next season.

Jones is the 2015 Australian Superbike champion, who switched to a Ducati team co-owned by Troy Bayliss this season, where he finished fifth in the standings.

The 22-year-old also scored points on his WorldSBK debut as a wild-card at Phillip Island in February. Jones, who usually races with the #46, will now be lining up on the same grid as The Doctor.

Iannone suffered a fracture to his T3 vertebra at Misano and withdrew from Aragon after testing the injury in free practice. The Italian is hoping to return for next weekend's Phillip Island round, although the choice of an Australian at Avintia perhaps suggests that will not be the case.

Ducati initially stated that Andrea Dovizioso would ride alone at Motegi this weekend, with retired champion and star test rider Casey Stoner rumoured to have declined the chance to replace the #29.

Pramac (GP15) riders Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci would not have been able to replace Iannone since they are currently in a points battle to earn the third GP17 machine next season.

Meanwhile, Ducati test rider Michele Pirro - who stood-in for Iannone at Misano and Aragon - is busy giving the GP17 its debut in a private test at Valencia.

The Ducati-Avintia rider changes for Japan will be officially announced later today.

By Peter McLaren

Tagged as: Ducati , barbera

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