Team Suzuki Press Office – October 21.
Yukio Kagayama: GSX-R1000 – 3-6
Yukio Kagayama returned to the podium at the weekend’s fourth round of the All Japan Superbike Championship at Motegi in the Tochigi Prefecture of Japan.
The popular 46-year-old Team Suzuki veteran raced his Team KAGAYAMA GSX-R1000 into third position – his first podium in five years.
Kagayama was joined in the Superbike class by other Suzuki riders Yoshihiro Konno (Moto Map SUPPLY) and Kazuma Tsuda (Baby Face POWERED by YOSHIMURA), plus Takuya Tsuda of WEST Power S-SPORTS SUZUKI in the ST 1000 class.
Autumn rain hit the weekend races, which forced Saturday’s opening race to be delayed to the afternoon because of low track temperatures.
After qualifying fourth on the grid, Kagayama was seventh into the first corner, but following several crashes the race was red-flagged. On the restart, he started fifth but moved streadily up the field to third, but a further red flag forced another restart; which saw the Japanese rider stand on the podium after the flag.
On Sunday, with better dry weather in the shortened 21-lap race, Kagayama was up in third position but was forced to fight hard against the fifth-placed rider from the second lap and ended ended the race in sixth place.
“I broke my main machine at the Autopolis circuit so I built a machine from my new machine and brought it to Motegi. However, electrical problems came up on Thursday and Friday, which eventually led to a drag on the second race with the dry condtions. But in the qualifying session on Saturday, the handicap of insufficient set-up was reduced, and as a result of trying hard to do what the rider could do, we were able to get the fourth grid position in both sessions, which was good.
“In the first race in the rain, I fell early so I tried to put up with it, so I stopped the start dash, which I was good at, and at first I saved and ran. From there, I had a good feeling, so I improved my pace, and as a result, I took third place on the podium.
“We have been trying hard to respond with results to the sponsors and fans who support us, but we have had to wait six years for the All Japan Road Race Championship. The last podium itself was taken at the Suzuka 8 Hours in 2015, so it is the first time in five years counting from there. I was really happy that many people were happy. I wanted to do the same in the second race, but the delay of machine settings from Thursday and Friday was severe with the dry conditions.”