Iker Lecuona will make his MotoGP debut at the 2019 final round in Valencia standing in for the injured Miguel Oliveira at Red Bull Tech3 KTM.

After signing a deal with Tech3 for 2020, the Spanish rider has been handed an early premier class debut at the French team with Oliveira forced out of the 2019 finale with injury.

Oliveira missed the Australian Grand Prix race day after suffering a heavy crash at Phillip Island’s first corner when he was blown off the track by high winds and picked up a hand injury, having already been struggling with right shoulder ligament damage sustained in a crash with Johann Zarco at Silverstone earlier this year.

After attempting FP1 at the Malaysian Grand Prix only to withdraw due to pain from his right shoulder, Oliveira returned to Europe and has undergone a successful surgery on his right shoulder in a bid to return to full fitness in 2020.

As a result, Lecuona has been called up as Oliveira’s replacement for the Valencia round having been given permission to step up to the premier class by his Moto2 squad American Racing.

"To have this opportunity in my home Grand Prix is a proud moment for me," Lecuona said. "We must enjoy this beautiful experience, but above all learn as much as possible for the future.

"All this would not have been possible without the help and encouragement of Hervé Poncharal, as well as Eitan Butbul [team owner] and the amazing American Racing Team crew, they helped me to grow as a rider and as a person.

"I also want to wish the best possible recovery to Oliveira, who will be my team mate next season. I will give my best in Valencia as I always."

The decision duly marks the end of Lecuona’s stint in Moto2 having started 55 races and claimed two podium finishes.

American Racing have confirmed Sean Dylan Kelly will replace Lecuona for his debut in Moto2 in Valencia alongside Joe Roberts for the final round of the year. Kelly has spent 2019 in the MotoAmerica Supersport championship and is also a former Red Bull Rookies’ Cup rider.

Lecuona is one of two rookies moving up to MotoGP in 2020, with Brad Binder heading to the factory Red Bull KTM squad to take up the race seat vacated by Zarco.

 

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