Having been given a verbal hurry-up after day one of the US MotoGP, Hiroshi Aoyama finished his first Laguna Seca weekend with a tenth place finish.
The Japanese had been just 17th and 16th (out of 18 riders) during Friday practice, prompting Aoyama's team manager Fausto Gresini to say:
"Hiroshi is going through a difficult period and we expect more from him considering the potential he showed in the first part of the season," said former racer Gresini.
"He is going backwards and that is a strange thing - it seems as though he is lacking motivation and I find that hard to understand because he can do much better than this and I expect much more from him.”
Aoyama, who suffered a heavy fall while substituting for Dani Pedrosa at the factory Honda team during the Dutch TT weekend, felt 'partly satisfied' with his tenth place in the race.
The Japanese overtook rookie Karel Abraham on the final lap, as the Ducati rider struggled with a technical problem.
“Starting from 14th place is never easy so I had to make a few passes before I could get into my true rhythm. I am partly satisfied to have finished tenth but it was a tough race because I am still not physically fit," said Aoyama.
"My intention was to make it to the end and I am happy I did that because this was my first race here at Laguna. Now we have a short break and I hope I can come back stronger in the next race at Brno, ready to fight for a good result.”
“Tenth for Hiroshi is not a result worthy of celebration but it was important for him to finish this one and I am sure he will be much more motivated for the next one at Brno," added Gresini.
Aoyama took his satellite spec RC212V to a fourth place finish at the wet Jerez race earlier this year.
The former 250cc world champion is now ninth in the championship, one place ahead of factory mounted team-mate Marco Simoncelli, who suffered his fourth DNF of the year on Sunday.