After the collective groan that emanated from MotoGP fans around the world when Wataru Yoshikawa was announced as Valentino Rossi’s replacement, Interwetten Honda is feeling a bit frisky about MotoGP’s next stop at Barcelona for the Catalan GP.
As such the team has challenged the Fiat-Yamaha substitute rider to battle with their own replacement for Hiroshi Aoyama: Kousuke Akiyoshi. With neither rider likely to make much of a showing against the MotoGP usuals, Interwetten Honda boss Daniel Epp sees a battle of the backmarkers as a way to spice up the race.
For those who are keeping score, Akiyoshi was roughly three and half seconds off the pace at Assen, and was lapped by more than one rider. Compare this to Yoshikawa who at 41 years old, hasn’t been racing since 2002. While it’s unfair to expect riders foreign to regular MotoGP racing to ride at race pace right off the bat, Interwetten’s Epp hopes to see improvements in Akiyoshi.
Talking about Akiyoshi’s chances at the Catalan GP, Epp stated that “Barcelona he knows and in Barcelona there will also be a second test rider, as the replacement for Valentino Rossi, and I am looking forward to seeing the battle between the two test riders.”
Place your bets A&R readers, who will win the Battle of the Bottom?