After Dani Pedrosa's move to MotoGP, the team led by Alberto Puig will be counting on Sebastián Porto and Shuhei Aoyama for the 2006 season.
The Argentinean rider Sebastián Porto, who had already been part of Alberto Puig's structure in 2003 and the bright Japanese hope Shuhei Aoyama, Hiroshi's brother, will be the two riders of the Repsol Honda Team 250 which will be led by Alberto Puig in the 2006 season.
The agreement between Honda Motor Company, Repsol YPF and Alberto Puig allowed Shuhei Aoyama to enter the 250cc team to compete in the 2006 Motorcycle World Championship. The inclusion of the Japanese rider represents a logical continuation of the "Honda Racing Scholarship" Program, Honda Motor Company's program to make it easier for young promises to reach the Motorcycling World Championship after a training process taking part in the Japanese national championships. It was this program that allowed Hiroshi Aoyama and Yuki Takahashi, amongst others, to make the jump to the World Championship.
Sebastián Porto, 250cc World Championship runner-up in 2004, already rode the Honda RS250RW in 2003, with which he managed to finish eighth overall in the World Championship. The experienced Argentinean has clinched a total of 7 victories in Grand Prix races, has set 12 poles and 8 fastest laps, all of it along the 10 years he has been taking part in the World Championship. Porto recently started his 2006 preseason at the Jerez Circuit, where he covered the first kilometres with the Honda RS250RW.
Shuhei Aoyama, who had already participated in some rounds of the World Championship, including his participation in the Dutch and British 125cc Grand Prix in 2002, is part of the new generation of young promising riders emerged from the Japanese national championships. Winner of the 2005 250cc All Japan Championship, this 21-year-old youngster is thus following the steps of other Japanese riders who also stood out in the national championship before achieving success in the World Championship, such as his brother Hiroshi, and other illustrious riders like Shinya Nakano, Daijiro Kato, Taro Sekiguchi, Naoki Matsudo or Yuki Takahashi. In 2004, Shuhei entered the 250cc Japanese Grand Prix and achieved an excellent eight place in his first World Championship participation. In the 2005 season, he took the start of the Japanese Grand Prix from the third place on the grid, but an early crash in the third lap hindered him from fighting for a good result in front of his people.
After the Christmas break of the Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Repsol Honda Team 250 will start with the 2006 preseason testing at the Catalunya circuit in late January.