As rumoured last month, Karel Abraham will return to MotoGP in 2017.

The 26-year-old Czech is replacing Yonny Hernandez at the Aspar team, steering a Ducati GP15 alongside fellow new signing ?lvaro Bautista, who will get a GP16.

Hernandez initially looked certain to stay, following team-mate Eugene Laverty's decision to return to World Superbike.

But at Aragon rumours emerged suggesting Aspar was concerned by Hernandez being 22nd and last of the full-time riders, scoring 17 points compared with Laverty's 71 on the same GP14.2 machinery. Sponsorship is also likely to have been a factor.

Abraham's signing was made official ahead of this weekend's Phillip Island round.

"I am really pleased to come back to MotoGP," said Abraham, who has spent 2016 in World Superbike on a Milwaukee BMW. "I started to work on this goal as soon as I knew there was a possibility. I am really happy: coming back to Ducati, which is my favourite bike, and also thinking about my first season with them, which was my best season.

"It's an honour to be a part of this team, which is so famous in the paddock, so professional and so good, and together with Ducati I believe we can make a very good connection, I'm really looking forward to that."

Laverty opted for a return to WorldSBK when Aspar were unable to secure a second 2016-spec Ducati. The Irishman will effectively swap seats with Abraham, having signed up for a new Aprilia-backed project at the Milwaukee team.

Abraham spent eleven seasons in grand prix, riding in the 125cc, 250cc, Moto2 and MotoGP classes for his father's AB Motoracing team (Abraham Sr also owns the Brno circuit).

His most successful season was in Moto2 in 2010, when he took two podiums, including a race win at Valencia. He raced Desmosedici machinery in 2011 and 2012, finishing 14th in the world championship on both occasions, his highest premier-class ranking to date.

Abraham also scored his best MotoGP result on a Ducati; seventh places at Jerez and Silverstone in 2011, then Valencia in 2012.

Team principal Jorge Mart?nez 'Aspar' said: "We are happy to be joined by Karel Abraham for next season. He is a new rider for us, he is still young but he has a lot of experience: he has raced in every category of the World Championship and in MotoGP already on a Ducati. I hope and want to be able to give him a competitive crew and bike so that he can show his worth."

Abraham is currently 18th in the WorldSBK standings with one round to go, claiming a best finish of ninth. Team-mate Josh Brookes, also leaving Milwaukee, is 14th. Hernandez meanwhile is the only South American rider in MotoGP, where he has raced since 2012. The Colombian's future plans are unclear.

By Peter McLaren


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"Money cant buy me love" but it CAN buy me a Moto GP seat.

MLF: Good ol Dad !!![\blockquote]
You could say that about an awful lot of them, even going back to Mike Hailwood, and probably earlier.

It's always cost a lot to get a competitive ride and unless you're born with rich parents or parents willing to sell their house and live in a bus (like Stoner's parents did), you have little or no chance of a ride.

VR's dad had a lot of connections to set up the young Valentino. Nicky Hayden had a lot of family support. It the same for most of them. Abraham is good enough to be competitive, and he could surprise.

It's tough for Hernandez, but he ought to have made the most of the opportunity he blew at Assen.[\blockquote]

yes all the people you list were probably financed by mum and dad too, but unlike Abraham they all achieved something beyond most crashes in a season

It helps when you have a rich father, damn

Abraham was average in Moto2, below average in MotoGP and sucked big time in WSBK. If there's one rider who doesn't deserve a seat based on results it's Abraham. I know that Aspar is looking for money, but this is a waste of real talent that doesn't get the chance to proof himself.