Hiroshi Aoyama is aiming to continue the momentum from his best MotoGP finish of fourth, at Jerez, as the 2011 world championship moves to Estoril for this weekend's third round.
The Japanese, who has switched to the San Carlo Honda Gresini team for his second season in the premier-class, rode a mistake-free race in the damp Spanish conditions to comfortably beat his top 2010 result of seventh.
“The result at Jerez was an important confidence boost for me,” admitted Aoyama. “The conditions were particularly difficult but I managed to keep things under control from lap to lap.
“My only regret is that I was a little too careful with my overtaking in the early stages of the race otherwise I could have been on the podium," continued Aoyama, who crossed the line less than half a second from Nicky Hayden. "Apart from a crash in the dry we established a good feeling with the bike and that gives me high hopes for Estoril.
“I have stayed in Europe over the break and just trained hard for the next race. Estoril is not an easy circuit because of the unpredictable weather conditions. The wind is a real problem and unexpected rain showers can make things really difficult. Hopefully this weekend it stays nice.”
“Hiroshi was solid at Jerez and he managed the conditions very well to bring home an important result,” added team manager Fausto Gresini. “It is a confidence boost for him and he will also soon be amongst the frontrunners in MotoGP.”