Makoto Tamada, racer of the Konica Minolta Honda Team since 2005, will leave the Team after the last Grand Prix of the season at Valencia on Sunday 29th October.
The Japanese rider made his first appearance in MotoGP in the 2003 season and has been collaborating with the same working group for four years becoming the protagonist of a project totally focused on the Rising Sun world. The man from Ehime obtained the first podium in Rio in his debut season and scored his first victory at the same race in 2004. Tamada riding his Honda RC211V with Bridgestone tyres imposed himself on the Rio GP and dominated the Grand Prix of Japan, from Pole Position. Another remarkable performance was achieved in Portugal, when in Estoril, the Japanese set the Pole Position and finished the race in second place after having clocked the fastest lap. The season final riders' classification saw Makoto in sixth position. The victory in Brazil will remain in the history of MotoGP World Championship as the first obtained by Bridgestone in the Top Category. The results of the last two years, after the tires maker change, were under the expectations with one podium obtained in 2005 and the Konica Minolta Honda Team decided to respect Makoto's decision about his future. The Team knows to have had one of the best Japanese racers of the World Championship history riding its RC211V and to have supported him from the technical and the human point of view. For this reason, Tamada represents a target for many Teams still looking for a definition for the coming season. The entire staff of the Konica Minolta Honda Team thanks Makoto for the serious commitment he demonstrated during these years and wishes him continued success in his career.
Gianluca Montiron - Konica Minolta Honda General Director;
"The years spent with Makoto will leave a permanent mark in my memories for the strong emotions we lived, for all the efforts we did, for the deep belief and will we had in always doing our best to support him. Thanks to Makoto, a person with good professional and human skills, we started the development of a project completely dedicated to the young riders' generations. This represented the starting point of our challenge supported by the trust of a company as Konica Minolta which, for sure, determined the first decisive step towards a further development. Makoto, with his willingness and reliability brought a huge contribution to JiR's project. I hope he could find the right position in a Team reflecting his aspirations, where he could continue his career and express his potentials at the top. I'm sure he'll make us live other emotions."
Makoto Tamada - Konica Minolta Honda Rider;
"I know I'm part of a structure focused on the realization of a project completely dedicated to me and I know very well how lucky I have been. The four years I spent with my working group were fantastic; as a rider, but also as a man, I learned so many things that will become precious in the next future. At the beginning everything was so natural, victories included; the latest seasons, characterized by results under our potential, made me realize that, perhaps for all, it was the time to find new motivations. I took this decision because I know what the Team made for me and I feel that, even for them, it is now the right moment to renew the enthusiasm. I am grateful to Konica Minolta, Honda and all the Partners for their support. A special thank to all the Team guys for their firm trust in my possibilities throughout these years and to Luca Montiron who always made the difference in every situation, making me understand the true passion for the job he does and with whom, just a look was necessary to understand each other. At Valencia I'll greet my Team defending the Konica Minolta Honda Team colours at the Top. I wish JiR, which will remain "my Team" forever, all the success it deserves."