Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS will field two former intermediate class World Champions at the Japanese Grand Prix, with HRC test and development rider Hiroshi Aoyama joining Tito Rabat in the team as a replacement for the injured Jack Miller. Aoyama was crowned World Champion in 2009, the final year of the 250cc two-stroke machines, and the Japanese rider has extensive MotoGP™ experience, having raced four full seasons since making his debut in the premier class back in 2010. Since 2015 the 35-year-old Japanese rider has been an HRC test rider and heavily involved in the development of the Honda RC213V he'll race this weekend in Motegi on home soil.
Hiroshi Aoyama: "Firstly I want to wish Jack a speedy recovery and I hope he will be fit to race in his home Grand Prix at Phillip Island. It’s never nice to replace an injured rider but I hope that I can do a good job for both Jack and the team in Motegi. I also want to thank Michael Bartholemy and Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS for giving me the opportunity to race once again in front of the Japanese fans. I have not raced yet this season, so it will take some time to get back the feeling. The fact that I already know a lot of the crew, having worked with them in the past, will help a lot, as will having a rider with Tito’s experience on the other side of the box. I am looking forward to the weekend ahead!”
Michael Bartholemy, Team Principal: "Firstly I'd like to say a big thank you to Hiroshi for stepping in at the last minute to replace Jack in Motegi and to HRC for arranging everything at such short notice. I am looking forward to welcoming Hiroshi into the team this weekend. It won't be completely new for him, as he's worked with many of our technical staff previously, so we start already from a good position. I am sure he will do a good job for us this weekend and I hope he enjoys this opportunity to race once again in front of his home crowd."