Reigning 250cc world champion Hiroshi Aoyama will head for his MotoGP debut at Qatar on April 9-11 having been ranked 16th, ninth and 16th – out of the 17 full time riders - during the three 2010 pre-season tests.
The Japanese, riding for the newly formed Interwetten Honda team, is still adjusting not only to MotoGP, but also the major changes made between the 2009 (Showa) RCV he tested at Valencia and Sepang late last year and the new (Ohlins) 2010 machine.
And with track time cut from three to two days at each test, Aoyama feels he just hasn't had enough time to get the new bike working as he would like.
“Today was a hard day, but we were able to improve a bit and I am happy about that,” said Aoyama, speaking after the final night of the final pre-season test at Qatar last week. “The front feeling with the bike got better. Now we have to work on the rear grip where I have problems. To find the correct way these two test days were simply not enough. I am sure I can be faster.”
Crew chief Tom Jojic agreed that lack of track time is their biggest enemy, but insists that they should still aim for a top ten finish during the forthcoming grand prix.
“We are not yet where we have to be at this race track. Hiro needs some laps with the fast riders to learn from them,” said Jojic. “But even though he had problems with the rear we were able to improve his feeling for the front of the bike and that is a positive point about this test.
“I am not sure what I should expect from the grand prix and I don't want to say anything, but I think a top ten result would be a realistic target.”