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Honda Bros set for family reunion at Motegi

Honda Bros set for family reunion at Motegi

Honda Bros set for family reunion at Motegi

The forthcoming Twin Ring Motegi meeting will be an important one, as usual, for every rider present, but for regular GP competitors Hiroshi Aoyama and Yuki Takahashi, it will be extra special. Why? Because both of them will be racing against their brothers, and returning to one of the venues at which they used to do battle when they were the leading All Japan 250cc road racers – just like their siblings are now.

For any rider, their home race is a special occasion. When you are a Japanese rider, spending most of the season working and racing a long way from home for most of the season, the return to Motegi is a pleasure - but a mixed pleasure. The chance to race at home for a change is a bonus, but it also puts added pressure on your performance.

For Hiroshi Aoyama (Telefonica Movistar Honda) and Yuki Takahashi (Kopron Team Scot Honda) this year's Motegi will have an additional factor - each will be racing against their own brother in GPs.

Shuhei Aoyama and Kouki Takahashi are both competitors in the All Japan 250 championship, but have been given the chance to race at Motegi as wild cards for the Team Harc-Pro Honda and DyDo MIU Racing Teams respectively. Shuhei was eighth last year, but for Kouki, it will be a step into the unknown.

By a quirk of fate, both Yuki and Hiroshi made their 250cc class debuts at Motegi, Hiroshi in 2000 and Yuki in 2002, and now approach the race as almost seasoned veterans.

Earlier in their careers, both sets of brothers raced against each other regularly in Japan, with all four coming through the ranks to compete at full national level.

Just as Shuhei and Kouki are now fighting for the All Japan 250cc crown, Hiro and Yuki did battle in that class in 2003, before first Hiro and then Yuki went off to the world of MotoGP racing. Both won the Japanese title bfore their departure, though, Hiro in 2003 and Yuki last year.

Another Aoyama and Takahashi battle is taking place in the class in 2005, this time between Shuhei and Kouki. In a spooky replay of their big brothers' last championship battle in the Japanese series, Aoyama has won the most recent race, while Kouki crashed, giving Aoyama 77 points to Takahashi's 48.

Given the prowess of the local Japanese wildcards in recent TRM races, it can't be discounted that one might join their big brothers on the podium. What we can say for certain is that all four of them will not be on the three rider podium!

But in Japan, the seemingly impossible can happen. All you have to do is take a look back to the 1995 season, when Takuma Aoki (500cc), Nobuatsu Aoki (250cc) and Haruchika Aoki (125cc) all secured podium finishes on their Hondas at Suzuka, an unprecedented scenario that may never be repeated ever again. Ten years on, are we set for another family affair by Honda riders, this time at Honda's new home circuit of Twin Ring Motegi?

250cc, 2005, GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

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