Yonny Hernandez will stand in for Jonas Folger at Tech3 for the first official MotoGP test of the year in Sepang, starting this weekend.
Folger was struck down with Gilbert’s syndrome late last year, missing the final four rounds, and has since been ruled out for the 2018 season.
Former MotoGP rider Hernandez, who was set to contest the Superbike World Championship with the Pedercini Kawasaki team, will take over Folger’s seat on the satellite Yamaha for the three-day test in Malaysia.
Tech3 team principal Herve Poncharal confirmed that the Colombian will be on trial for what would be a return to grand prix motorcycle racing.
“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,” said Poncharal.
“I know, that he has got some plans and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Pedercini (for) 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 shortlist for 2018.”
Hernandez rode in MotoGP from 2012 to 2016, finishing as high as 14th in the championship in 2015.
“First of all, I have to say, that I’m sorry for Jonas Folger,” said the 29-year-old.
“I hope he gets well very soon and back on track again, as he is an incredibly 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 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.”
The Sepang test starts on Sunday, with a decision on Folger’s longer-term replacement possible before the next test in Buriram on February 16-18.