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Aoyama explains number change.

With the #4 he took to 250cc title victory already in the hands of Andrea Dovizioso in MotoGP, Hiroshi Aoyama will switch to the #7 for his debut season in the premier class.

The new number, made available in MotoGP for 2010 following Chris Vermeulen's return to World Superbike, was inspired by late Japanese grand prix hero Daijiro Kato.

Kato was Japan's last 250cc world champion before Aoyama and tipped to be the country's first premier-class champion.

The 17 time 250cc race winner finished second in only his third MotoGP race, riding a 500cc Gresini Honda, and again later in the season when given one of the new 990cc RCV four-strokes.

But Kato's potential went tragically unfulfilled when he lost his life during the first race of his second premier-class season, at Suzuka in 2003. As a mark of respect, his #74 was retired from MotoGP soon after, but Aoyama can at least use one of the digits.

“My favourite number is Daijiro Kato's #74,” Aoyama told Crash.net. “This year in 250 I was using the #4, from Kato's number, and next year in MotoGP I will use the #7. I will keep the #7 from now on.”

Meanwhile, fellow 250cc world champion and 2010 MotoGP rookie Marco Simoncelli confirmed that he will stick with the #58, despite running with a 'T' during winter testing.

“The 'T' is just for testing. I'm not changing my number,” the Italian confirmed.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kato leads Rossi in qualifying at Estoril.
Aoyama, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Aoyama, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Aoyama, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Aoyama, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Aoyama, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
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Iannone, Marco Rigamonti Valencia MotoGP 2016
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Iannone, Valencia MotoGP 2016
Laverty, Aoyama Malaysian MotoGP race 2016
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Rabat, Laverty, Aoyama Malaysian MotoGP race 2016
Laverty, Rabat, Aoyama, Malaysian MotoGP 2016
Aoyama, Malaysian MotoGP 2016
Aoyama, Malaysian MotoGP 2016
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Aoyama, Malaysian MotoGP 2016

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Matt - Unregistered

December 30, 2009 3:29 PM

His first year in 500cc/MotoGP was the transition year in which part of the racers were on 4-strokes and part were on 2-strokes. He started on the 2-stroke, which from my understanding was NOT competitive against the 4-stroke. His second year in MotoGP ended at the first race, in which he died from injuries sustained while on track. Show some respect, he deserves as much given that he gave his life while trying to entertain us. It's short sighted, to say the least, to expect him to have some amazing record given that he only raced in the top class for a season + a few laps of 1 race the following season. There wasn't enough time for him to break/create records.

Matt - Unregistered

December 30, 2009 3:34 PM

continued - To induct him into the Hall of Fame/Legends and to retire his number is a decent tribute to someone who lost their life from injuries incurred while racing. DORNA or whoever runs the Hall of Legends and whoever has the final say over the racing numbers, just did what they could to pay tribute to him. Again, it's a show of respect, and it's disrespectful to say that he doesn't deserve it.



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