Yonny Hernandez appears to be the favourite to stand in for the Tech 3 Yamaha team at the upcoming MotoGP test at Sepang as team boss Hervé Poncharal continues the search for a full-time replacement for Jonas Folger.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Folger would sit out the 2018 season as he seeks to fully recover from Gilbert’s syndrome, a genetic ailment that sidelined him from the final four races of last year.

In an official statement, Poncharal is quoted as saying, “I will try to find a solution for a replacement rider, which is a very difficult mission, as all of the fast riders are already contracted.”

A spokesperson for the French team informed Crash.net that a final decision on who would ride the second Tech 3 Yamaha M1 in Malaysia has yet to be taken, but it is believed Hernandez will ride there across the three days.

The Colombian, who is due to ride a Kawasaki ZX-10R for Pedercini Racing in World Superbike this year, will be present from the 28th to 30th of January to sample the M1 alongside full-time rider Johann Zarco.

Indeed Pedercini Racing team chief Lucio Pedercini told Italian sports daily Gazetta dello Sport that Poncharal had already contacted Hernandez about the possibility of riding at Sepang at the end of next week.

In an interview with paddock-gp.com, Poncharal stated he expects to have a full-time replacement for Folger in place by the second official preseason test of 2018 in Thailand, which begins on the 16th of February.

Hernandez has not ridden a MotoGP machine since the end of 2016, his last year as a full-time premier class rider. The Columbian spent an unsuccessful half season in Moto2 in 2017 with the AGR squad, but was replaced by American Joe Roberts during the summer break.

The 29-year old spent five seasons in the MotoGP class (2012-’16), enjoying stints aboard Avintia Blusens BQR, Paul Bird Motorsport’s ART, and in the Pramac and Aspar Ducati squads.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment

Quite funny really - the one guy none of us have mentioned, if you don't include Guy Martin! This gets a job done and buys  some precious time to source and do a deal with Folger's replacement. With the Monster deal finishing this season and the VR46 team positioning to move into MotoGP, no doubt with Yamaha, 2018 is shaping up as a battle for Herve. Let's hope for his sake and the sport that Zarco does even better than last year and Tech3 keep their well-deserved place in the paddock.

I didn't even realize that Yonny was racing WSBK this year.

A. he announced retirement after 2017 honda flop - his second retirement :D

B. Road Racing and motoGP are completely different skills (see John McG best 12th motoGP )

C. he has no interest in racing factory / production - wants to race classics and oddball stuff

D. he's a truck mechanic first , TV personality second and then a bit of an outsider RR racer.

E. hes 35.  


Why not give Stefan Bradl another crack on a decent bike....I think he would be competitive....


Yawn..this dude gets more second chances than Scott and aoyama..

Different body type, completely different riding style. They won't be able to even use him as a tester. Hernendez needs the back end unscrewed. Cool. I guess they could have gone for Miguel Duhamel.

Hopefully it's only for the test

He has had his chances, as has bradi 

Time to get someone new 

No disrespect but surely they could have come up with someone more imaginative. 

He's only signed for the test so far, Dorna want a popular South American. 

Well unfortunately reading that Ben Spies jacked himself(and shoulder) up dirt bike riding eliminates my pipe dream of BS11 filling in for Tech 3.  Oh well.