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Nobuatsu Aoki On Retirement, Recovering From Cancer, Developing Suzuki's MotoGP Bike, And Teammate Jeremy McWilliams

Nobuatsu Aoki finished his road racing career as a rider at the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours Race at the age of fifty. As the eldest of well-known Aoki three brothers, Nobu had already shown his potential in the All Japan Road Race Championship when he was a teenager back in the early 1990s. Soon after, he moved up to the 250cc grand prix class, and took an impressive victory in Malaysia in 1993. Then in 1997, he stepped up to the 500cc class to ride for Honda NSR500. He also experienced the dawn of the 4-stroke MotoGP era in Proton KR team before becoming a test rider for Suzuki.

Backed by rich experience, knowledge, and skill, his words are always full of deep insight. And his sense of humor adds a unique flavor to them. We spoke with Nobu for an hour-long interview at Suzuka Circuit on Thursday evening, the day before his last race weekend started.

Q: First of all, could you tell us a little bit about the reason why you have decided to retire from racing?

NA: The reason? Nothing but my age! Unfortunately, when you get old, your body doesn’t respond as it used to. Although I have always been training very hard, in my late 30s, I felt something changed in my body. Then, when you turned forty, that strange feeling started growing even more. For sure, I still think I am still young like a teenager. However, if you train hard like a teenager and ignore your age, you can very easily end up with an injury in training. You run very hard, you lift a heavy barbell like you used to do, then you pull your muscles or injure your joint!

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2010 – 2019: MotoGP's Long Decade Of Change, And What It Means For The Future

2020 sees the start of a new decade (convention has it that decades are zero-based, going from 0-9, so please, numerical pedants, just play along here), and if there is one thing we have learned from the period between 2010 and 2019, it is that a lot can change. Not just politically and socially, but in racing too. So now seems a good time to take a look back at the start of the previous decade, and ponder what lessons might be learned for the decade to come.

It is hard to remember just how tough a place MotoGP was in 2010. The world was still reeling from the impact of the Global Financial Crisis caused when the banking system collapsed at the end of 2008. That led to a shrinking grid, with Kawasaki pulling out at the end of 2008 (though the Japanese factory was forced to continue for one more season under the Hayate banner, with one rider, Marco Melandri), and emergency measures aimed at cutting costs.

The bikes entered in the 2010 MotoGP season

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2016 Argentina Saturday Round Up: A look at Argentina, and Tire Challenges

We have been here before, of course. The history of problems with spec tires is long and varied. In 2012, at Assen, the tires of several riders, including Valentino Rossi and Ben Spies, ended up losing chunks, causing huge problems in the race. The cold tire highsides of 2009 and 2010, which saw Hiroshi Aoyama crack a couple of vertebrae, an injury which ended his career as a competitive racer, and Valentino Rossi break his leg, forcing him to miss a race for the first time in his career. And of course the debacle at Phillip Island in 2013, when Bridgestone discovered that the tires they had brought could not cope with the stresses imposed by the new, much faster surface, forcing Race Direction to grant themselves new emergency powers, cut the race to two thirds' distance, and impose a mandatory pit stop.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Saluting a Grand Prix great

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Saluting a Grand Prix great

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Dorna's mistakes

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Dorna’s mistakes

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2015 Aragon Moto3 FP1 Results: Bastianini Takes Charge

Enea Bastianini has picked up at Aragon where he left off at Misano, topping a bright but chilly first session of free practice for the Moto3 class. Bastianini put nearly a quarter of a second between himself and Miguel Oliveira, the man in 2nd, while Danny Kent slipped in to 3rd just a fraction behind the KTM of Oliveira. Jorge Navarro grabbed 4th, while Isaac Viñales continues to impress with a 5th fastest time.

Results:

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2015 Assen Moto3 FP1 Result: Kent Takes Charge

Danny Kent has taken the Moto3 class by the throat during the first session of free practice at Assen, laying down a withering pace from the start. The current championship leader took top spot early in the session, and ended over six tenths ahead of the opposition. Romano Fenati grabbed second spot, the KTM going well right from the start, while Jorge Navarro lead the Estrella Galicia 0,0 duel ending in 3rd, just ahead of Fabio Quartararo. Efren Vazquez took 5th spot, setting the same time as Quartararo.

Results:

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2013 Sachsenring MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Three Races With A Big Impact On The Championship

The Sachsenring is a key point on the MotoGP calendar. For the Moto2 and Moto3 riders, it is the last race before the summer break, while the MotoGP men have one more race, at Laguna Seca, before heading off for an all too brief summer hiatus. A good result in Moto2 and Moto3 is crucial, as it determines the momentum you carry into the summer: you either spend the next five weeks brooding over what could have been, or on a high and wishing the next race was the next weekend. Momentum is not quite such an issue for the MotoGP riders, but a bad result puts them on the back foot ahead of Laguna Seca, and their own summer break. As it is often also contract time, especially in MotoGP, the pressure is on to perform and secure a seat for next season. Good results and championship points are vital, as this race can help determine the course of the remainder of the season.

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