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Nobuatsu Aoki profile

By Dan Moakes
March 11 2004

Nobuatsu “Nobu” Aoki
nationality · Japanese
born · 31 August 1971
grand prix début · 1990

Oldest of the three ‘Fireball Brothers,’ Nobuatsu Aoki has competed at Grand Prix level on a variety of different bikes, and is still going strong for Proton. Although perhaps not as stellar as his younger siblings, Nobu has had his moments, not the least of which being a superb début season in the 500cc World Championship

1982
First taste of motorcycles

1983
Began racing ‘pocketbikes’

1985
Japanese Pocketbike Champion

1986
Won several Minibike races

1987
Triple Japanese 50cc Minibike Champion

1988
Japanese 125cc championship, winning 13 times from 20 races

1989
2nd in All-Japan TT-F3 championship; 13th in All-Japan 250cc championship

1990
8th in the All-Japan 250cc championship; World Championship 250cc début
As a wildcard entrant at Suzuka, on the number 47 Honda, Nobuatsu finished eighth first time out

1991
3rd in All-Japan 250cc Championship; 250cc World Championship, number 55 Honda
Once again, Aoki was a wildcard runner at home, this time taking his Honda to fifth place

1992
3rd in All-Japan 250cc Championship; 250cc World Championship, number 53 Honda
For the third year running, Nobu raced at the Suzuka round, where he reached his first World Championship podium. Starting from pole position, he placed third for Cup Noodle Honda TS Kanto

1993 Cup Noodle Kanemoto Racing, number 14 Honda
In his first full season of racing 250cc GPs, Aoki won the Malaysian race at the Shah Alam circuit. With four more top six results, and 100 points in total, he placed eleventh overall

1994 Honda Rheos Jha Racing, number 11 Honda
Nobuatsu improved his 250 placing to tenth, scoring seven top six finishes, albeit without reaching the podium. His best results came at Hockenheim and Brno, as he was fourth in both these races, and his final score was 95 points

Nobu Aoki 1995 - photo by Elliot L Doering
photo by Elliot L Doering · e_doering@yahoo.com

1995 Blumex Rheos Racing, number 10 Honda
Top six results were rather more rare for Aoki in 1995, but a consistent record helped him to sixth in the 250s, on 105 points. He was certainly on form in the Suzuka race, where he came home the runner-up

1996 Rheos Molenaar Racing, number 6 Honda
This proved to be Nobu’s final year at the 250cc level and, although he achieved seventh in the series, he didn’t finish higher than fifth in any of the races. Nevertheless, his consistency once again netted him 105 points
Also finished seventh in the Suzuka 8 Hours, with brother Haruchika

1997 Rheos ELF F.C.C. T.S., number 18 Honda
The switch to the 500cc World Championship brought Aoki his best season to date, although, in the face of Repsol Honda’s dominantion, he wasn’t to add another race victory. However, an impressive string of thirteen top five results, including third in Malayasia, Italy and the Czech Republic, and second at Imola, pushed him to a handy third place overall, on 179 points

1998 Suzuki Grand Prix Team, number 3 Suzuki
Joining Suzuki as the only full time rider, at a stage when they were rebuilding, meant that Aoki was mainly picking up points in the lower reaches of the top ten. He did finish fourth at Járama, which, along with a couple of sixths, helped him on his way to ninth, on a tally of 101

1999 Suzuki Grand Prix Team, number 9 Suzuki
In 1999, Nobuatsu was joined at Suzuki by Kenny Roberts, and it was the American who took the fight to Honda. The Japanese rider was unable to better thirteenth in the series, with only a pair of top six results in his 78 point total

2000 Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki, number 9 Suzuki
In his third year at Suzuki, Aoki backed up Roberts’ successful championship challenge with four fourth places, 116 points, and tenth overall. Although not generally matching Kenny, Nobuatsu’s abilities were demonstrated by row two qualifications in Italy, Spain and Germany, as well as second on the grid in Portugal

2001
Bridgestone GP tyre development rider; did not race

2002 Proton Team KR, number 9 Proton
The 3-cylinder Proton was disadvantaged even in comparison to the V4 500s, but still looked a very nimble machine. Aoki brought the bike home sixth at Le Mans, and was also seventh more than once. His third place on the grid in Australia demonstrated continuing good form, and he was rewarded with a new four-stroke Proton in 2003

2003 Proton Team KR, number 9 Proton
Unfortunately, the KR5 was late out of the blocks, and lagged behind in development as a result.


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