Aoyama top ‘Open’ class rider for first time

Argentina MotoGP Race reaction Aoyama
Monday, 28 April 2014

Japanese rider Hiroshi Aoyama came out on top after a duel with his DRIVE M7 Aspar teammate Nicky Hayden in Sunday’s Argentina race, beating the American to the top ‘Open’ position by a 0.073s margin.

In spite of troubles finding his pace at the start, Hayden was initially the first Open rider to approach the top ten spots, moving up from 14th position to pass Scott Redding, Karel Abraham and Yonny Hernandez, with Aleix Espargaro having crashed.

Aoyama, meanwhile, was 16th after the first lap and also was forced to fight back. With four laps to go, the battle between the Aspar riders, Abraham and Hernandez intensified. It looked as if Hayden would be taking 10th spot after establishing a small advantage, but Aoyama reeled him back in and passed on the penultimate corner.

It was the Japanese rider’s first Open class top spot of the campaign. He reflected, “The race was tough. At this new circuit we had many doubts about the durability of the tyres, but I'm very happy to have concluded the race as the best Open class rider. I had fun, coming from behind at the end of the race I had some good battles with Hernandez and Nicky and we swapped places several times on the closing laps. I'm glad I was able to place ahead of them and take tenth position.”

Hayden added, “I really enjoyed riding today. In the race I would have liked to have taken a better result and beaten my teammate after an interesting fight. At the start of the race I did not had a good feeling with the front end. At first I struggled to pick up the pace and move up the field, because I couldn’t brake well. As the laps went by I started to feel more comfortable and I managed to overtake people. It would have been great to finish as the top Open rider, but Hiro (Aoyama) deserved it. I will have to be more attentive next time!”

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