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!