It's been a mixed few weeks for Hiroshi Aoyama. The only Japanese rider in MotoGP claimed a season best eighth place at Aragon, then was effectively confirmed as losing his Aspar seat by the announcement of Eugene Laverty's arrival.

Nothing was said of Aoyama's future, but with team-mate Nicky Hayden holding a two-year deal - and confident his wrist injury is improving - Aoyama looks in need of a new 2015 team.

Aoyama's best chance would appear to be with Ioda, which insists it will remain on the grid despite losing Danilo Petrucci to Pramac and its current struggles with the uncompetitive Aprilia ART.

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Might Aoyama be able to bring Honda machinery - either the current RCV1000R or next year's RC213V-RS Open class replacement - to Ioda, thereby keeping a Japanese rider on the grid and on a Honda?

Whatever his options, one of Aoyama's main goals should be to overturn the nine-point deficit to top Open Honda rider Scott Redding, during the remaining four rounds.

Speaking ahead of his home event at Motegi this weekend, Aoyama declared: "Racing in Japan is always an extra source of motivation, because I am surrounded by my family, friends and fans. We go into the race in good form, we took a big step forward at Arag?n and we're a moving in the right direction.

"We made some changes to the set-up that improved the handling and speed of the bike so hopefully we can continue to improve it at Motegi. I know the circuit well, which is a good thing, but the hard acceleration zones and long straights won't necessarily help us compared to the Factory bikes.

"Even so we will look to do our best. We closed the gap to the Factory riders at Motorland so let's see if we can get even closer at Motegi. Motegi, Phillip Island and Sepang are hugely different tracks from one to the next but we have a good base set-up so we can look ahead to this run of races with optimism."