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Aoyama takes first competitive steps back

Aoyama takes first competitive steps back

The Interwetten Honda MotoGP rider made his return to action in FP1 at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

Hiroshi Aoyama’s long path to recovery took another big step on Friday when the Japanese rider made his competitive return to riding after nine weeks out with a fractured vertebra.

The last ever 250cc World Champion rode in the hour-long first practice session at Indianapolis and placed 16th on the timesheet, with his focus being on regaining his feeling with his satellite RC212V machine following a run out at the Brno test last week.

Aoyama completed 26 laps in the session, setting his fastest time of 1’42.874 on the penultimate of those as he rounded off a satisfactory first ride of the weekend.

"Like the first practices of any Grand Prix this one was not easy for me,” said Aoyama. “I have to find my rhythm again and get there step by step. I am still careful in the turns, as I don't want to risk too much. My back is not 100% okay yet.”

The 28 year-old continued: “At the end I was able to go faster than I expected to. I am satisfied with the practice today. My feeling with the bike was not bad and I felt that I am coming back now.”

Team Manager Daniel M. Epp added: "Regarding the fact that Hiro is not 100% fit yet, the first practice went really well. Hiro was able to continue his good form he showed in Brno at the test and he was only 0.7s down on Melandri's tenth position. He did well and I hope that this race weekend will continue without pain and physical problems for Hiro."

MotoGP, 2010, RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GRAND PRIX, Hiroshi Aoyama, Interwetten Honda MotoGP

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