Yonny Hernandez looks set to miss the final round of MotoGP at Valencia, as the Colombian continues his recovery from injury. Hernandez suffered a dislocated collarbone in a crash during the race at Motegi, an injury which forced him to miss both the Malaysian and the Australian rounds of MotoGP.
The place of Hernandez in the BQR Avintia team is to be taken at Valencia by Hiroshi Aoyama. The last ever 250 World Champion suffered a difficult 2012 season in World Superbikes with the Ten Kate Honda squad, Aoyama never getting comfortable with the Pirelli tires used in WSBK.
Aoyama has been looking to return to MotoGP since the latter part of this season, the Japanese rider spotted in serious talks with a number of teams at the Aragon round of MotoGP at the end of September. Aoyama now looks set to take the place of Hernandez in the BQR Avintia team permanently in the 2013 season, according to Spanish website Motocuatro.com.
Aoyama could be one of two Japanese riders in the premier class in 2013, with Ryuichi Kyonari looking likely to take the place of Michele Pirro in the Gresini Honda squad. Both men will be riding FTR-framed machines, with Aoyama on the FTR Kawasaki with BQR, while Kiyonari will be racing an uprated version of the FTR Honda used by Pirro this season.
Kiyonari could also start work on development of Honda’s RC213-based production racer, though much uncertainty surrounds whether that bike – suggested by Honda in response to the CRT rules – will actually be produced or not. A decision on that has still not been taken by Honda.
Hernandez looks likely to move to Paul Bird’s PBM squad, where he will probably race an Aprilia ART machine. Dorna is keen to keep Hernandez in the series, as the young Colombian has been very useful in promoting the sport in South America, and his spectacular riding style has been a genuine crowd-pleaser.
Paul Bird had hoped to field an all-British team, with two British riders on a British-built bike, but with Bradley Smith moving up to MotoGP alongside Cal Crutchlow, that would have put four British riders on the grid. Dorna is currently engaged in trying to broaded the mixture of nationalities on the grid, as a better mixture helps with the sales of TV rights across the globe.
The preponderance of riders from just a handful of nations – for 2013, it looks likely that there will be five Spaniards, four Italians, three Americans and three British riders on the grid – is something the Spanish organizer of MotoGP is trying to combat.
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.