Yonny Hernandez: "I needed a change of scenery"

Friday, 25 January 2013

As Colombian rider Yonny Hernandez eagerly awaits his second season in MotoGP™ with the Paul Bird Motorsport team, motogp.com caught up with him about his expectations this year on the ART.

Having just arrived in Spain after a three-month stay in Colombia, Yonny Hernandez is eager to begin preparations for his second season in the MotoGP™ World Championship. After debuting in 2012 with the Avintia Blusens BQR team, the 24-year-old Colombian is this year once again on board a CRT, with the British Paul Bird Motorsport team’s ART Aprilia, with whom he reached an agreement in early December last year.

Hernandez injured his left shoulder in a fall last October during the early stages of the race in Motegi (Japan). It was quite a nasty fall, and although in principle the damage did not appear to be of particular gravity, the incident ended up throwing to ruin his expectations in the final part of the championship, as he had to have surgery and subsequently missed the final three races of the season.

"Well, at first it seemed it wasn’t that serious, but in the end it was a dislocation of the third degree, with torn ACL. Until January I couldn’t start riding a motorcycle on the recommendation of doctors", said Hernandez, whose recovery has been monitored by doctors of the Colombian Olympic Committee.

Hernandez has started recapturing his fitness in the extensive grounds that the family owns in the town of Caucasia (Antioquia) in his native Colombia. In this exotic environment, Hernandez combined gymnastics, biking and swimming with continued physical therapy.

"I have no discomfort in the shoulder, so I'm looking forward to coming to Malaysia to test the Aprilia with the Paul Bird team and to see how the shoulder feels along with motorcycle", commented Hernandez, who had his brother Santi, also a rider, as his training partner. "We've always been very close, and live together here in Madrid. We are always training together. This year he is very happy because he will have a Kalex bike in the CEV and will try to fight for the championship. And the truth is that we train together very well, there's always that motivation.”

Hernandez is very excited about the new challenge with the PBM team: "I have great expectations, I hope to fight for one of the top three spots in the CRT Championship. It's another year of experience and I am very motivated to have a new bike and a new team. It's the change of scenery I needed. I'm happy and looking forward to my first contact with the team and we’ll see how we progress over the preseason."

While Hernandez is responsible for the Aprilia ART James Ellison had at his disposal last season, his new teammate, Northern Ireland’s Michael Laverty, will have a new bike designed by PBM - a situation that is well-known by the South American racer.

"This situation I lived with last year at Blusens", Hernandez recalls. "Iván Silva took the Inmotec chassis and I the BQR. I am going to focus on my job, which is to develop the Aprilia. Laverty…I do not know him personally. I have heard about him; he comes from Superbikes. I hope to get along with him and of course we'll be watching to see if the work he does can also benefit us."

Despite the reshuffled MotoGP grid and new additions to the CRT category in 2013, the Colombian is clear on who will be his main adversaries: "I think the men to beat are the Aspar Team (Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet). We have to fight with them, as we did last year, and try to beat them. We will have to see how things go during the preseason, but last year we saw that this bike (Aprilia ART) was the most evolved of the CRTs. I wanted one this year and I think with the Paul Bird team we can do a good job. It will be hard work, as I’m coming from an injury, I don’t know the bike and I have to adapt to it. But I do not want to rush to be there, because right now I am not 100%, so I'll work progressively and after the pre-season we’ll know where we stand.”

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