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Aoyama revisits victorious final 250cc season

Aoyama revisits victorious final 250cc season

The last ever 250cc World Champion looks back on how the 2009 season unfolded; a campaign which involved a battle to the end with Marco Simoncelli and a scare in the final race at Valencia.

After making his debut in the quarter-litre class as a wildcard back in 2000, Hiroshi Aoyama’s impressive record of scoring points in all 16 rounds of 2009’s 250cc World Championship ensured he took the title in the last season of the category.

Marco Simoncelli may have won more races than the man who took his 250cc title with six victories to Aoyama’s four, and Héctor Barberá’s four starts from pole position were double the amount the Japanese rider managed. However, it was Aoyama’s consistency in always finishing inside the top eight that brought him a deserved World title after his sixth full campaign in the category.

“At the beginning of the season my objective was to fight for the top five in every race. If we got this, we knew it was going to be a great result for us,” explained Aoyama. “For me the turning point was the first part of the season, especially Jerez, Assen, England, and then Malaysia. These were four very important wins.”

Another spur which pushed Aoyama all the way to the end of the campaign, and ensured his title was only secured in the final race at Valencia, was his close battle with 2008 title holder Simoncelli. The Italian’s strong finish to the season made for an enthralling climax.

“At the beginning of the season Marco had some bad luck and couldn’t score many points,” said Aoyama. “So from the beginning to the middle of the season, Álvaro (Bautista) and I were fighting for the Championship and he put me under a lot of pressure, but in the last part of the season it was Marco. He won the race at Phillip Island and I was seventh, so I think it was the worst moment of the season for me. It was also a turning point for us.”

He continued, “In the last three races I had the chance to win the title, but Marco was getting better and we needed to be strong. I felt strange because if I won the race I could take the title and I had never been in this kind of situation before. Malaysia was the first time I fought directly against Marco and in that race I thought only about winning.”

Aoyama had to wait until the final round of the campaign at Valencia to take the title, and it was a race that brought the unexpected. A run-off for the 28 year-old made for dramatic scenes, before Simoncelli’s crash ended the Italian’s hopes.

“My objective was very clear: I wanted to win this race,” stated Aoyama. “This race was very emotional for me. When I crossed the line I remembered everything we achieved throughout the year and how long it had taken me to win this Championship. It was fantastic, a great moment!”

250cc, 2009, Hiroshi Aoyama

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