Hiroshi Aoyama is aiming to kick-start his rookie World Superbike campaign at Assen this weekend.
The former grand prix star made a solid start to the year with eighth and ninth places at Phillip Island, but failed to score at the following Imola round, a circuit he was unfamiliar with before the race weekend.
That won't be a problem at Assen, which Aoyama knows well from grand prix racing and was the scene of his dramatic 250cc victory in 2009 (pictured).
“I like Assen very much - I liked the old circuit layout, but the new one is fun, too - and I won there on the 250 when I was riding in GPs,” confirmed Aoyama. “I am really looking forward to the weekend at Assen and continuing the improved feeling that I have with the bike. I will try as hard as I can, like always, and see how things are on Friday morning.”
Aoyama and Honda Racing team-mate Jonathan Rea head into the weekend with the added boost of a brief test at the Dutch track, following on from the official post-race test at Imola.
“The weather that we had for the test at Assen last week was not very good and we had a lot of things that we wanted to try after the Imola test. But the day we had there was a lot more positive because I had to change some things,” said Aoyama.
Team manager Ronald ten Kate said conditions were far from ideal for the Assen test, but could prove useful for the weekend ahead.
“Our test here last week wasn't great because the temperature was quite low and there were a few showers. But I think the weather this weekend won't be much different, so maybe it was good for us to prepare!” he said.
“Assen is a circuit Hiroshi knows well. Imola was difficult for him because we hadn't found a base setting for him and the circuit has a few blind corners. We're looking forward to seeing how he goes at Assen this weekend.”