World Superbike rider Yukio Kagayama raced to victory in the final round of the Japanese Superbike Championship at Suzuka on Sunday as Suzuki clinched the series Manufacturer Championship.
The GSX-R1000-mounted Alstare Suzuki rider formed his own team JK Suzuki with Bright Logic for the race, which was his first home championship appearance since 2002.
P>Said Kagayama: "The World Superbike Championship season is over and I wanted to ride for Japanese fans in Japan. Thanks to the great effort of Mr. Tsujimoto and so many volunteer people, my team was organised. My bike is almost the same as normal but I wanted to show my best ride to the Japanese fans and also ride for fun."
Going into the event, Yoshimura Suzuki with JOMO rider Atsushi Watanabe held second place with a chance of lifting the title, but, after setting pole position, mechanical problems forced him to retire after just four laps.
Kagayama, who started from fifth position, shot into the lead ahead of Suzuki MotoGP test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi (Yoshimura Suzuki) and Watanabe. On the fourth lap, Akiyoshi passed Kagayama with Watanabe two places further back until he was forced to retire.
With five laps remaining, Kagayama passed Akiyoshi on the final corner and then Akiyoshi passed him back, but as the Suzuki duo played cat and mouse, Honda?s Shinichi Itoh slipped by both of them to take the lead.
Kagayama passed Akiyoshi and Itoh all together at the chicane with two laps to go and Akiyoshi followed him through to take second. He then took the lead from Kagayama but on the final corner Kagayama got by to win by just 0.1 seconds.
With Watanabe on the sidelines, the title went to Itoh with Watanabe second and Akiyoshi fourth.
- 1: Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
- 2: Kousuke Akiyoshi (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
- 3: Shinichi Itoh (Honda CBR1000RR)
- 4: Tatsuya Yamaguchi (Honda CBR1000RR)
- 5: Katsuyuki Nakasyka (Yamaha YZF-R1)
- 6: Takeshi Tsujimura (Honda CBR1000RR)
- 7: Shogo Moriwaki (Honda CBR1000RR)
- 8: Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki ZX-10R)
- 9: Osamu Deguchi (Honda CBR1000RR)
- 10: Yoshiki Konishi (Honda CBR1000RR)