Former grand prix rider Yonny Hernandez will make his debut in the World Superbike Championship next season after signing a deal with the Pedercini Kawasaki team.
After losing his ride in MotoGP due to a poor season in 2016 with the Aspar Ducati squad, Hernandez returned to the Moto2 class with the AGR Team for year.
However, the Colombian found the going tough in the intermediate 600cc class and managed just three points scoring finishes before he was dropped by the Spanish team during the summer break.
Hernandez wound up entering the Bol D’or, the opening round of the 2017/’18 Endurance World Championship, with the official Honda squad.
Despite being a rookie in the series, Hernandez adapted to the 1000cc Fireblade SP2 well to help team-mate’s Gregory LeBland and Sebastien Gimbert secure third in the gruelling 24-hour race.
Hernandez then stood in at Pedercini for the Jerez test last month, adding to the speculation that the Colombian would be stepping over to WorldSBK for 2018.
The deal was confirmed with the publishing of the provisional enrty list for next season, which reveals a 21-strong grid for the series’ 31st year.
Elsewhere in the WorldSBK paddock, former Althea BMW rider Raffaele De Rosa will step down to the World Supersport class with MV Agusta alongside ex-Grillini rider Ayrton Badovini – who missed the final round of the year in Qatar due to injury.
De Rosa’s place with the Althea team – who has scaled back to a one-rider effort for 2018 as BMW’s sole representative – has been taken by WorldSBK returnee Loris Baz, who comes back to the series following three years in MotoGP.