AMA Pro Racing Champion Josh Hayes will get a chance to swing a leg over some MotoGP machinery later this year, as the American rider will get to ride with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha squad at the post-season test in Valencia. Taking place immediately after the final 2011 MotoGP round in Valencia, Hayes will ride Colin Edwards’ 800cc Yamaha YZR-M1, as the Texan Tornado will presumably be released from his Tech 3 duties so that he can begin testing his CRT bike at the first 2012 season test. The ride is joint-promotion by both Monster and Yamaha USA, and it also sees Josh Hayes’ better half, Melissa Paris, riding Bradley Smith’s Tech 3 Tech 3 Mistral 610 Moto2 race bike at the Spanish test.
With Tech 3’s second seat still vacant for the 2012 season, this news could mean that we will have to until after the conclusion of the 2011 season to find out who will race with Cal Crutchlow next season. Normally riders switching between contracts are allowed to test with their new teams at Valencia, and this move by Yamaha could be an effort to fill a void in the testing roster.
So far at the top of Hervé Poncharal’s list of riders are Andrea Dovizioso and Álvaro Bautista, while earlier in the season Eugene Laverty and Bradley Smith had also been rumored to be in contention to takeover the spot of Colin Edwards. We’ll have to wait and see who Poncharal can poach from the factory teams, though either rider should be a welcomed addition to the satellite Yamaha squad.