AUSTRALIAN Damian Cudlin has been drafted in to substitute for the injured Loris Capirossi at Pramac Ducati in this weekend's Japanese GP at Motegi.
Capirossi will miss his final race in Japan after further damaging his shoulder in a coming-together with Toni Elias in the last round at Aragon. Therefore Pramac have brought the 29-year-old Cudlin to take the seat of the veteran Italian's Ducati Desmosedici GP11, the Australian has some experience in MotoGP, having tested the BMW-engined Suter CRT bike and taking an impressive ride in Moto2 last year - finishing seventh after qualifying down in 22nd.
"It's hard to put into words what this opportunity means to me," said Cudlin. "I've dreamed about starting in MotoGP since I was a boy, and until now it's been just that- a dream. Now it's become a reality and to be honest, I'm still in shock!
"I'm under no illusions about how difficult this race will be. I've never ridden a real MotoGP bike before and I've never been to Motegi either, so realistically my expectations can't be too high. I just want to do the best job I can, enjoy the experience, and just see what happens. I've really got nothing to lose, so why not? I don't know what I've done to deserve this.
"I still can't believe I'll be replacing Loris Capirossi- I had posters of him on my wall as a kid! I just want to thank Sito Pons for recommending me, the Pramac Racing Team for giving me a chance, and also my current BMW Team for allowing me to use this opportunity. I hope I can make everyone proud that they took a chance with a guy like me."
Retiring at the end of the season, Capirossi hopes to be fit to complete the final races of his career.