Team Suzuki Press Office – August 23.
Naomichi Uramoto: GSX-R1000 – 16-DNF
Naomichi Uramoto gained valuable experience in a last-minute wildcard entry at the World Superbike Championship seventh round at Circuito de Navarra in Spain at the weekend.
The Japanese Suzuki rider, who races in the Spanish Superbike Championship (ESBK) for the JEG Racing decided to enter the race weekend for experience and practice ahead of this coming weekend’s fifth round ESBK race at the circuit.
Uramoto last rode the circuit in May and with no time for testing before the race the team expected that it would be a difficult race for them, considering the fact that there was little time to prepare, and the Suzuki GSX-R1000 specifications the same as in ESBK up against full factory machinery.
Uramoto’s best lap here at Navarra was 1’39 seconds, and his best lap here in the ESBK race last May was 1’39.946, so this was his target lap time of the week.
Uramoto could only make 1’41s in the two practice sessions on Friday. He managed to lap in the early 1’40s on Saturday morning, and in Superpole, he lapped his personal best at 1’38.973. Although this time did not allow him to be competitive with the full season riders, it became a good session for him and he qualified 20th.
Race 1 followed Superpole on Saturday. Uramoto kept 20th after start, but a mistake on Lap 2 pushed him to the back of the field. However, Uramoto moved to 19th on Lap 4, 18th on Lap 5, 16th on Lap 7, and on Lap 8, Uramoto was in the points at 15th. From there on to the end of the race, he fought hard to keep the 15th position for his first points in SBK but was passed at the final corner on the final lap and settled for 16th in Race 1.
The JEG Racing Team decided to change his selection of the front tyre on Sunday. His feelings on it were positive, and this was good for him preparing for the next weekend. In the 10-lap Superpole Sprint Race, Uramoto ended up in 19th. Although it was not a position he was happy about, this was his first time to lap in the 1’39s during a race at Navarra. In Race 2, Uramoto managed to climb to 16th in the early stage of the race but was forced to pit at Lap 8 due to a mechanical issue and had to retire from the race.
“This became a valuable experience for me. I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t a bit unhappy that the regular season riders were so faster than me, but then again, that also became valuable for me. I thank the team for the great opportunity.”
Superpole: 20th – Best Lap 1.38.946.
Race 1: 16th – Best Lap 1.41.021.
Superpole Race: 19th – Best Lap 1.39.575.
Race 2: DNF Best Lap 1.40.108.