MotoGP: Abraham replaces Hernandez at Aspar for 2017
Czech rider Karel Abraham will replace Columbian Yonny Hernandez on the Aspar Ducati for 2017 in MotoGP, with the last free seat on the grid finally confirmed after MCN first reported that Abraham would be returning to the premiere class from World Superbikes some weeks ago.
“I am really pleased to come back to MotoGP. 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.”
Abraham has had a difficult year in World Superbikes, riding for the Milwaukee BMW team alongside Josh Brookes and only making it into the top ten once; results that will have the son of the owner of the Brno circuit’s return to the top class questioned by many.
It won’t be the first time that he’s drawn criticism, either, after Ducati world champion Casey Stoner hit out at his graduation to MotoGP back in 2011 having won only a single Moto2 race.
Speaking at the time, Stoner said: “He is a good guy and he's working hard but he needs to get better results than what he is doing now to move up to MotoGP. There are a lot more people in line who deserve a ride more from their previous results. It's a tough job out there and if he comes into the class and really proves himself then that's fantastic.
"But he hasn't proven himself enough just yet. It is fantastic for him to have an opportunity like that but sometimes there are more deserving riders. Unfortunately the paddock just doesn't take the top riders from classes and put them in. It's who comes with the money.
"Some people have gone in with money and they have surprised everyone so this might give him a lot of motivation to come out and do well. There are probably people in national championships who should be with us who just don't get he right opportunities."
The move also leaves Columbian Yonny Hernandez without a ride in MotoGP, with the announcement of Abraham’s deal coming so relatively late in the year. However, it’s believed that he could be set for a return to the Moto2 class for next year, with organisers Dorna keen to keep a South American in the series.