Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team have confirmed that test rider Akiyoshi will replace Hiroshi Aoyama at both Assen and Catalunya.
2009 250cc World Champion Aoyama fractured a vertebra in a massive landslide during a warm up session crash at Silverstone last week, and was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Fortunately, the rider suffered no complications, and will be transferred to Barcelona shortly, for further checks and a decision on therapy options.
In the meantime, the team has acquired Akiyoshi to ride the satellite RC212V at the TIM TT Assen, which takes place from June 24-26, and the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya from July 2-4. The Japanese rider will wear the number 64.
No greenhorn, Akiyoshi is a former winner of the Suzuki 8 Hours, and has also tested for an injured Dani Pedrosa during last year’s IRTA test. He also made four starts for Rizla Suzuki from 2006 to 2008, nabbing a thirteenth spot at Motegi in 2006.
To date, no course of treatment or comeback schedule has yet been set out for Aoyama, who was competing in his first season in MotoGP. Aoyama is currently ranked 13th in the 17 rider championship on 18 points after four starts, with his best result so far being a tenth place finish in the opening race of the season in Qatar.
“It really is a pity that Hiro had this nasty crash in Silverstone and that he injured himself so badly, so he will be out for the next couple of months,” stated Team Manager Daniel M. Epp.
“His learning process was going really well and he was consistently getting better.We hope he will recover quickly and that he will be back with us as strong as he was before the accident, and as soon as possible.”
“In the meantime we are looking for a stable replacement. At the moment we don’t have a rider apart from at Assen and Barcelona, and we are looking for a suitable solution.”