Hiroshi Aoyama is getting another shot at MotoGP, joining the Avintia Blusens CRT effort in 2013. He is set to fill in for the injured Yonny Hernandez in the final round of 2012 at Valencia, marking his first appearance in the premier motorcycle road-racing series since 2011 when he rode for San Carlo Honda Gresini.
For the past year Aoyama has languished in World Superbike, finishing 18th overall and only breaking the top-10 three times all season. He was a mainstay in the 250cc ranks before it turned to Moto 2, contesting races in the class as far back as 2000. He won the 250cc Championship in 2009 and then moved up to the big-show in 2010. That year he finished 15th overall and the following year finished in 10th. He’s never earned a podium in GP but has a career best finish of fourth in the second round of 2011 at Jerez.
Aoyama’s race experience is hoped to be a boon to Blusens squad as they continue to look for a competitive edge in GP. Currently Yonny Hernandez and Ivan Silva pilot the BQR machine for the team and both riders have had somewhat lackluster seasons. Hernandez did break the top-10 once at Indianapolis, but both riders have struggled to find a way to keep pace with CRT field leaders Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet of Power Electronics Aspar, much less any of the prototype riders currently populating the top-11 in overall points.
It still remains to be seen whether the burgeoning CRT dimension to MotoGP will yield any serious competition for the factory bikes, but if 2012 is any indication, a seasoned rider certainly doesn’t guarantee success. Just look at Colin Edwards.
Aoyama is excited about the chance to return to the GP grid though and recently offered his thoughts on the move to the Blusens team.
“First of all I want to thank the Avintia Blusens team for giving me the opportunity to return to the MotoGP World Championship, where I have had my best results as a rider,” said Aoyama. “The team has worked hard this year to develop a new bike and have made great progress. I hope I can help continue the development of the bike and I am convinced that we can do good things together. I’m excited to get back into action in this category and test the CRT. I also want to thank the Honda World Superbike team for giving me permission to ride at the Valencian GP, despite having a contract with them until end of season. I will give the maximum next season, because recent years have not been very good for me. I return with great enthusiasm and am eager to show my full potential.”