Japanese test rider and former 250GP world champion Hiroshi Aoyama will return to MotoGP action at next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, when he joins the Marc VDS Honda squad to replace the injured Jack Miller at his home race.
Aoyama spent four seasons in the premier class after becoming world champion, but since 2015 has been one of the leading testing and development riders for Honda’s RC213V MotoGP machine – meaning he’ll be jumping onto a machine that he knows well come next week’s race at Motegi.
And, having worked with many of the crew in the past and joining fellow middleweight world champion Tito Rabat in the box, the 35-year-old says he’s relishing the opportunity to race in front of a home crowd.
"Firstly I want to wish Jack a speedy recovery and I hope he will be fit to race in his home Grand Prix at Phillip Island. It’s never nice to replace an injured rider but I hope that I can do a good job for both Jack and the team in Motegi. I also want to thank Michael Bartholemy and Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS for giving me the opportunity to race once again in front of the Japanese fans.
“I have not raced yet this season, so it will take some time to get back the feeling. The fact that I already know a lot of the crew, having worked with them in the past, will help a lot, as will having a rider with Tito’s experience on the other side of the box. I am looking forward to the weekend ahead!”