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Aoyama becomes HRC MotoGP test rider, RC213V-RS debut

Hiroshi Aoyama to debut new Honda RC213V-RS at Valencia MotoGP, become HRC test rider in 2015.
Hiroshi Aoyama will debut the new Honda RC213V-RS Open class bike at this weekend's Valencia MotoGP season finale, then become an official HRC test rider in 2015.

The former 250cc world champion is currently in contention for top Open Honda honours at the Drive M7 Aspar team, but will lose his seat to Eugene Laverty next season.

"We are very pleased to confirm Hiro as a test rider for next year," said HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto. "He's done a very good job this year and especially in these final races.

"This is an important project for HRC and we believe that he will be a valued addition for the development of HRC machines in the future. We have a long relationship with Hiro, and we look forward to continuing this into the future."

Aoyama, the only Japanese rider on the grid, will thus be given the honour of debuting the pneumatic-valve RC213V-RS in his final race for the Aspar team.

The new bike is powered by this year's world championship winning Factory class RC213V (pneumatic valve) engine. The RS replaces the underpowered RCV1000R, which was built by Honda under the expectation that Open class bikes needed to be offered for sale rather than leased.

As with the rival Forward Yamaha, the RC213V-RS will not feature a seamless shift gearbox. Like all Open bikes it must run the standard ECU software, but is eligible for extra race fuel, a softer rear tyre, more engine changes and testing opportunities.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB) and Nicky Hayden (Aspar) will share one of the new RS bikes during next week's post-race Valencia test, meaning the other 2015 Open Honda riders - rookies Laverty and Jack Miller (LCR) - are set to use the present RCV1000R for their debuts.

Aoyama is 13th in the world championship with a best race finish of eighth. He starts this weekend eight points behind top Open Honda rider Scott Redding - the new bike helping Aoyama's chances of overturning the young Briton's advantage.

33-year-old Aoyama's new role is likely to include some wild-card appearances next season, with the only full time 2015 MotoGP seats still to be officially filled at Aprilia (expected to go to Marco Melandri) and Ioda (yet to announce its racing plans).

Tagged as: Honda , aoyama

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November 06, 2014 12:59 PM

He still has an eight point lead but this isn't exactly going to make it easier for Scott to be the top open honda at the end of year if the bike is as big a step up as HRC claim

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