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Nakano and Aoyama anticipate challenges on familiar ground

Nakano and Aoyama anticipate challenges on familiar ground

Former Barcelona resident Shinya Nakano is back in the Catalan capital for this weekend´s Catalunya race, which is on home turf for his 250cc compatriot Hiroshi Aoyama who still lives locally.

For many Spanish and Catalan riders in the World Championship this weekend´s visit to Catalunya is their home race, while for those who have spent time in the CEV and the Red Bull MotoGP Academy it is also a return to well-known ground.

For San Carlo Honda Gresini´s Shinya Nakano, meanwhile, the Catalunya date brings him back to the city he lived in from 2003 to 2006, originally moving to Barcelona when he joined Luis d´Antin´s Yamaha team. The popular Japanese rider left the Mediterranean coast for Clermont Ferrand in France to live close to his personal trainer in 2007 and now resides near Gresini HQ in Misano, Italy, but still has close ties with Barcelona.

At the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya launch event on Tuesday, Nakano told, `I am happy to be here in Barcelona because I was living here for a while, so I know the city and I have some friends here. They will be coming to see the race so I am very excited.´

`The feeling is getting better and better,´ the 30 year-old continued. `I was happy to keep up good lap times in Mugello. The result was ninth, still not what we want but my best so far this year and I will be aiming for the top six this weekend.´

For Nakano´s compatriot Hiroshi Aoyama Barcelona has been his European base since 2004, when he undertook his first full World Championship campaign under the management of Alberto Puig in the Telefonica Movistar Honda team.

The Red Bull KTM 250 rider commented, `I have been living here for a few years too and I have some friends here so it is like a second home for me. This will be the fifth year I have ridden at Catalunya and some of my friends will be coming watch. I like the track and I want to have a good race.´

MotoGP, 2008, GRAN PREMI CINZANO DE CATALUNYA, Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Honda Gresini

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