Herrera to replace Arenas in Aspar Mahindra for next two Moto3 rounds
Aspar Mahindra has announced Spaniard Maria Herrera as Albert Arenas replacement for the Australian and Malaysian back-to-back Moto3 rounds.
Arenas had fractured his right hand after a fall in Motegi's qualifying and was forced to miss the race on Sunday. This is his second major injury this season, after an injured shoulder put him out of the races in Barcelona, Netherlands and Germany.
"I am very excited to be able to compete with the Aspar Team, I have always wanted to be in a good team and Alvaro Bautista has always spoken very well about both the team and Jorge Martinez "Aspar"," said Herrera.
"Alvaro was world champion with them, and also Julito Simon, so I have to take this opportunity. I do not know the bike, but I will try to adapt as quickly as possible.
"When I train, I do it with a bike that has a very similar chassis, and it's something that can come in handy because I have a good corner speed.
"For me Phillip Island is one of the best tracks on the World Championship calendar, in my first year I was eighth in the qualifying and eleventh in the race. Last year I was also in the front positions, so I think it's a good opportunity for us," she added.
Herrera started her third full Moto3 season with AGR Team, after making her lightweight championship debut in 2013, but her journey this season was cut short when the Spanish outfit decided to leave the series after the British round.
The 21-year-old makes her debut on the Mahindra MGP3O machinery at Phillip Island, the circuit where she already has scored points in both the events she has competed in - in 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Meanwhile, the Indian manufacturer will be riding high this weekend after claiming its first 'emotional' podium of the season in last weekend's Motegi round, courtesy CIP's Marco Bezzecchi.
Teammate Manuel Pagliani also did well in Motegi - even topping the third practice session - before a fall on Lap 1 halted his progress in a damp race.
Meanwhile, Aspar's Lorenzo dalla Porta is hoping to complete the race with no reliability problems. "I am looking forward to be back on the bike and giving the maximum possible after a complicated weekend like the one in Japan.
"I hope it does not rain, because I have already run a few times in Australia and I know that the Mahindra can go well there, it's a plus. We will see how the weekend develops, but we travel with a positive spirit," he said.
Also, Peugeot's Jakub Kornfeil is looking to get another Top 10 result after San Marino and Motegi, as teammate Patrik Pulkkinen continues his learning process.
Last year was a tricky race at Phillip Island with multiple crashes, however, Mahindra's Darryn Binder was able to secure a Top 4 finish along with points for Jorge Martin (P6), Marcos Ramirez (P7) and Tatsuki Suzuki (P13).
The Indian manufacturer, in its last season in the Moto3 category, sits third in the manufacturers' standings with 36 points, while sister brand Peugeot is on 22 after 15 rounds in the 2017 season.