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Aoyama and Yamamoto: Fast friends

Aoyama and Yamamoto: Fast friends

MotoGP rider Hiroshi Aoyama and Formula 1 driver Sakon Yamamoto are professional pilots of racing machines who both call Spain home.

Hiroshi Aoyama and F1 driver Sakon Yamamoto have more than a country of origin and fast professions in common - the two Japanese sportsmen both live in Barcelona. When the two friends get together, they frequently talk about the differences between motorcycle and car racing.

Aoyama, who has been living in the Catalan city for 8 years, explained that he and Yamamoto have mutual respect and awe for each other’s talents in their respective sports. “He does everything he can to drive well, I respect that,” said the former 250cc World Champion.

Yamamoto, who moved Barcelona after his first visit in 2006, was shocked the first time he saw his friend race. “Roughly I knew what MotoGP was like, but I couldn’t believe it when I saw him race and how fast he rides. I think it’s very tough physically and mentally. F1 is tough too, but I think that MotoGP is physical more demanding. The race really depends on the riders.”

“I can’t believe motorcycle racing, because if you make a mistake your body hits the ground,” continued the 28 year old F1 driver. “It’s totally dangerous. When I told Aoyama that, he said cars are more dangerous because if you crash you can’t jump out of the car. He says I’m crazy, but I say he is crazy!”

The two friends have been deeply affected by the recent tsunami and earthquake in Japan. Yamamoto knows that although the worst is over, there is still a lot of work to be done. “There are still a lot of problems in the north - It will take a long time to totally recover. We need to keep looking forward and be positive."

Aoyama heard about the tragedy on his way to the first round of the 2011 season in Qatar, and nearly didn't participate in the race. “I thought – I could go to Japan, but what could I do, I am only a rider. So I thought that if I did my best in my world, and brought good news to Japan, I could help and cheer up the people who were suffering there.”

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, Hiroshi Aoyama

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