MotoGP riders seem to attract lousy weather wherever they go, even during off-season testing. Honda MotoGP riders Marc Marquez (who was in Japan these past few days for a wind tunnel test and taking part in Honda Racing’s 2012 Thanks Day with Dani Pedrosa) and Alvaro Bautista and joined by test riders Kousuke Akiyoshi and Takumi Takahashi were at the Sepang International for the first day of private testing and once again the day was a washout as they could only get in three hours of dry time.
Marquez managed to complete 28 laps in his second outing with the RC213V after Valencia, before the rain started falling around 2pm halting all track activity. The new rookie reportedly did a best lap of 2′03″650 compared to Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista who did 2’02″190 with his satellite Honda now sponsored by Go&Fun.
“I did my first laps in MotoGP in Valencia, so today we started to try some things with the bike, but overall I’m quite happy,” said Marquez. “We only did 28 laps because the track was wet in the morning and in the afternoon it was raining. Sure I would like to have done more laps, but we have two days to go, so we need to be quite happy, because the most important thing is that we came here. Maybe the difference from here to Valencia is bigger than in Moto2, because this circuit has more speed and more braking points. The most important thing is that every run, every time I go out, I improve everything. My feeling with the bike at the moment…the biggest point is the acceleration compared to Moto2, but here you also feel the brake points a lot, because they are longer and we have a little bit more speed on the straight than Valencia. And this, lap-by-lap, I need to understand more. At the moment I need to ride the bike more, but maybe if I improve everything, my confidence, my feeling and the lap time, maybe I will try the 2013 bike.”
HRC has decided to field three teams in the tough and iconic endurance race, F.C.C. TSR and’HARC-PRO Honda and have added the Honda Asia team.
This will be Rea’s fourth partecipation (2008 to 2010) and he’ll back on the F.C.C. TSR branded Fireblade - equipped with Bridgestone tires) where he and took a third place podium in 2010 and he’ll be partnered with Kousuke Akiyoshi, Honda’s MotoGP test rider and two time All Japan Superbike champion who was part of the team that took the victory last year. Akiyoshi is returning to track after breaking his leg in the opening round Japanese SBK championship at Motegi.
For Hiroshi Aoyama it will be his first ever Suzuki 8 Hours, and he’s being fielded in HARC-PRO Honda (the same team that saw him debut in All Japan 250 GP). Aoyama’s team mates will be Takumi Takahashi (All Japan Superbike runner-up and Suzuka winner in 2010) and someone who doesn’t need any introduction, three-time BSB champion and four-time Suzuka winner, Ryuichi Kiyonari, who is currently racing in the FIM Asia Road Race Championship in the Supersport category.
Team Honda Asia instead will be fielding former MotoGP and World Superbike rider Makoto Tamada and Suzuka 8 Hour veteran and Asia Dream Cup trainer Chojun Kameya and MuSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing rider Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman.
If Honda has a strong line-up, they’ll be going face-to-face against the Monster Yamaha YART endurance team who is fielding Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Tommy Hill and Noriyuki Haga.
Honda has decided to increase their partecipation in their home race at the Twin Ring Motegi (owned by the Japanese manufacturer) next month ,and will be fielding two well known Japanese riders for the 14th round of the season, which will bring the field, for the first time up to 19 riders.
However don’t expect to see two young and promising Japanese riders, because they’ll be giving test riders Shinichi Ito (44) and Kousuke Akiyoshi (36) the chance to race in MotoGP.
Honda will be pulling out a fourth factory bike for Ito who will be fielded alongside Repsol Honda regulars Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa, while Akiyoshi will be with LCR Honda with Toni Elias, which we believe will be using Elias’ spare bike, just like Ben Bostrom did when he raced for Lucio Cecchinello’s team at Laguna Seca.
“Through their participation in the Japanese Grand Prix, HRC hope to bring courage and show support for the East Japan area,” said Honda’s statement.
Akiyoshi who won the Suzuka 8 Hours this year with Ryuichi Kiyonari, and Shinichi Ito with the FCC TSR Honda team, took over for Hiroshi Aoyama when the Gresini rider was moved to Repsol Honda to sub for injured Dani Pedrosa at Assen.
Photo via motogp.com
Interwetten Honda’s Daniel Epp has moved fast to find a replacement rider for the injured Hiroshi Aoyama for this Saturday’s round in Assen and has confirmed they will be fielding Honda test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi for both the Dutch TT and Catalunya GP’s.
Aoyama has been ruled out for at least the next two races after fracturing his T12 vertebra in a massive highside during Sunday morning’s warm-up session at Silverstone.
Akiyoshi is a seasoned rider and is the official rider for the All Japan Superbike team and is also a former winner of the Suzuki 8 Hours. He’s tested for injured Dani Pedrosa during last year’s IRTA test and has made four starts for Rizla Suzuki between 2006 and 2008, taking a thirteenth spot at Motegi in 2006.
“It really is a pity that Hiro had this nasty crash in Silverstone and that he injured himself so bad, so he will be out for the next couple of months. Especially now his learning process was really good and he was consistently getting better,” said Daniel Epp. “We hope he will have a quick recovery and that he will be back with us as strong as he was before as soon as possible. For the meantime we are looking for a stable replacement. At the moment we don’t have a rider apart from Assen and Barcelona and we are looking for a suitable solution.”
Former Suzuki test rider and occasional MotoGP wildcard Kousuke Akiyoshi, will replace a still recovering Dani Pedrosa in Honda HRC in this weekend’s official MotoGP test in Jerez.
Akiyoshi, who joined Honda this past winter, won the 2007 Suzuka 8 Hours on a Suzuki S-GSX-R1000 alongside Yukio Kagayama.
Kousuke Akiyoshi has appeared as a wildcard in four MotoGP races in the past seasons and now rides for the F.C.C TSR Team (Honda) in the Japanese National Championship and will again take part in this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours, this time with rider Shinichi Itoh.
Ducati’s test rider Vittoriano Guareschi will also be in attendance at the Jerez test.
Source | motogp