Hiroshi Aoyama will ride an Aspar Honda in MotoGP next season alongside 2006 champion Nicky Hayden. The Japanese rider will join the team as it switches from Aprilia CRT machinery to Honda’s new production racer.
Aoyama has raced for a variety of teams in MotoGP since graduating to the premier class in 2010 as the last ever 250cc champion. He won that title on a Honda, and also substituted for Dani Pedrosa in the factory team for the 2011 Dutch TT.
He competed on one of Avintia’s FTR-Kawasaki’s this season with a best finish of 11th in Malaysia.
Aspar team manager Jorge Martinez said: “It is a great moment to be signing a world champion like Hiroshi Aoyama. “Next year we kick off a new project in MotoGP alongside Honda and I am sure that we can generate a great synergy between the three parties.
“The combination of factory, rider and team is very positive and I hope that 2014 can be an even more productive season for us than the last two. The last month has seen a revolution within our team, in terms of the machinery and the riders, and I am very satisfied. I am sure that all this will translate into great results on track next season.”
Aspar’s leading 2013 rider Aleix Espargaro has negotiated a move to Forward Racing’s new Yamaha project for next year, while his current team-mate Randy de Puniet is set to focus on his role as test rider for Suzuki’s 2015 MotoGP programme.