MotoGP: Hernandez to deputise for Folger at Sepang

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Columbian rider Yonny Hernandez will replace Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Jonas Folger at this weekend’s official MotoGP test at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit, as he lines himself up to replace the German full time for the 2018 season.

Struggling to find a replacement for Folger as he continues to recover from illness but unwilling to break a rider’s contract with another team, team boss Herve Poncharal admits that discovering that Hernandez has no contract in place yet allows them the possibility to test him at Sepang.

“Before starting to talk about who will be on our second bike in Sepang, I would like to express one more time how sorry and sad I am, not having Jonas Folger with us in 2018. Having said that, we have to try to overcome this situation the best way we can and everybody knows it’s not easy. On the 20th of January, almost everyone with the required level is already under contract, therefore I am very happy to have found out that Yonny Hernandez was so far without a contract.

“I know, that he has got some plans and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Pedercini letting Yonny test with us and give him the opportunity to show what he can do on a Yamaha M1 MotoGP bike. I am pleased to give him this possibility to test for three days and with it giving him the chance to show his potential to both, Yamaha Motor Corporation and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team.

“Yet, no permanent decision will be taken before we fly back from Sepang. For sure, we will analyse in detail how Yonny performs during this test and obviously, he is one of the riders on our short list for 2018.”

Hernandez, set to ride for the Pedercini Kawasaki squad in the 2018 World Superbike championship, says he’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime as he jumps onto the bike that Folger took to an impressive podium finish in his rookie season alst year.

“First of all, I have to say, that I’m sorry for Jonas Folger. I hope he gets well very soon and back on track again, as he is an incredible fast and talented rider and I want to wish him all the best. At the same time, I’m obviously happy for myself to get such a fantastic opportunity riding a MotoGP bike again.

“I’m delighted I can do the test and work with a very good team and machine. I’m truly curious to ride a Yamaha bike, because in all my career I was sitting on a Ducati. I want to thank the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team and especially Herve Poncharal for giving me this unique chance.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer