The Interwetten Honda MotoGP team will disband following next week’s season finale in Valencia, with the team concentrating on the Moto2 class in 2011 while eyeing a possible return to the senior class when the MotoGP machines become 1000cc in 2012.The team announcement following a 12th place finish by Hiroshi Aoyama in Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix wasn’t a surprise. Rumors about the MotoGP team’s demise had been swirling for the past several weeks.Though the team didn’t give a reason, many believe that the withdrawal came down to results. Aoyama, the 2009 250cc World Champion, started the season with an encouraging tenth in Qatar, but didn’t improve over the next three races. The season took a dramatic turn for the worse when Aoyama broke his back in a crash during qualifying for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Japanese rider missed Silverstone and five other races in the heart of the season, during which his replacements didn’t impress. Test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi was 15th and 13th before being replaced by Alex de Angelis. De Angelis finished 12th twice and 13th once before Aoyama took back the reins at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.Aoyama continued to finish at the back of the order until his home GP in Motegi where he finished tenth. That was followed by a season best seventh in Malaysia, then more downfield finishes, 13th in Australia and 12th in Portugal. Had the team been more successful, many believe they would have continued.Instead Aoyama is rumored to be heading to the San Carlo Gresini Honda team as Marco Simoncelli’s teammate. Pairing the two would be a volatile mix after the bitter fight the pair had during their 250 days. But it would keep Aoyama in the premier class, which is something many believe Honda would like to see.Interwetten team owner Daniel Epp will now concentrate on working with Swiss rider Tom Luthi in the Moto2 class. Luthi is currently fourth in the Moto2 championship, where he’ll likely finish. The team made no announcement about their future in the 125cc class with Marcel Schrotter. Schrotter is 19th in points with a best finish of 12th in Jerez.”It is a pity that the team cannot continue,” Aoyama said. “I had a really good time with them and I want to thank the team for all they did for me.”
Interwetten Honda MotoGP Quits Class
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.