Cudlin to replace Barbera in Australia

Following a surprise MotoGP debut, as a stand-in for Loris Capirossi at Motegi, Damian Cudlin will be back on a Ducati Desmosedici for his home Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island next weekend.

29-year-old Cudlin has been confirmed as a replacement for injured Aspar Ducati rider Hector Barbera, who broke his collarbone in Japan.

“This is a fabulous opportunity for me, I honestly can’t believe it,” said Cudlin. “A week ago I made my debut in MotoGP and that was already a shock.

“It gives me great pride to be competing in MotoGP, the best championship in the world, and especially with such a great outfit as the Mapfre Aspar Team. My first experience in Japan was unforgettable and now just two weeks later I get another opportunity.

“I am really happy, I consider myself a very lucky person and I want to make the most of every single minute of this opportunity.

“The level of the category and the machinery is extremely high, as I found out in Japan. I had never been to Motegi before and had to learn a lot in a short space of time but I am sure I can start out at Phillip Island at a higher level. I know the circuit and that will help me to make a confident start.”

Suter test rider Cudlin, who normally races in the World Endurance and IDM championships, began the Japanese GP without any prior experience of an 800cc MotoGP bike or the Motegi circuit.

The Australian reduced the difference to the front of the premier-class field in every track session, a 5.9sec deficit in first practice being cut to a creditable 2.7sec by his best lap in the race.

Cudlin didn’t reach the chequered flag, falling from 14th place – just behind local Honda wild-card Kousuke Akiyoshi – on lap 15 of 24. A first MotoGP finish, and almost certainly points, will therefore be his priority next weekend.

Cudlin finished seventh in his only previous grand prix appearance, at the 2010 German Moto2 event.


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