Date of birth: November 4th, 1976
Place of birth: Shikoku, Japan
Civil Status: single
First race: 1994 - Kyushu, Honda NSR250
First victory: 1994 - Kyushu
Favorite Circuit: Suzuka
Hobbies: touring cars and motorbikes
Favorite food: meat
2004 - MotoGP World Championship, Camel Honda Team Official Rider; 6th position. Best position: 1st at Rio GP, 1st at Motegi GP, 2nd at Estoril GP
2003 - MotoGP World Championship, Pramac Honda Team Official Rider;
Best position: 4th at Mugello GP, 3rd at Rio GP
2002 - World SBK Championship, 1st position - Race 2 at Sugo GP (Japan), Suzuka 8 hours (with T. Okada), 2nd position, All Japan Superbike, 2nd position
2001 World SBK Championship, 1st position Race1 and Race2, Japan GP
2001 - World SBK Championship, 1st position Race 1 and Race 2, Japan GP, All Japan Superbike, 2nd position; Suzuka 8 hours 2nd position
2000 - All Japan Superbike, 2nd position; Suzuka 8 hours (with A.Barros)
1999 - All Japan Superbike, 5th position; Suzuka 8 hours (with D. Kato) 8th position
1998 - All Japan 250cc, 4th position; Suzuka 8 hours (with S. Nakatome) 10th position
1997 - All Japan 250cc, 6th position
1996 - All Japan 250cc, 14th position
1995 - All Japan 250cc, 11th position
1994 - 250cc Production Regional Championship - 1st position
The new Japanese star was born 29 years ago in Shikoku, a small island in the south of Japan. When Makoto was a little boy, he became a bike fan watching his elder brother racing with pocket bikes. He decided to follow in his brothers' footsteps from the age of 9. At 17 he was on to the pocket bikes upper versions.
Since he was little, Tamada was a Honda fan, starting out as a little boy on a QR. His racing debut was first made on a NSR250 "sport production "and secondly on an RS250 Grand Prix. In fact he was a Honda privateer in the 250 class and in the Superbike championship, but he boosted his fame in Japan when he became HRC "factory rider" in 2000.
Makoto Tamada is a natural talent, immediately showing his ability with extraordinary results in the local championship, winning the first race on a NSR at Kyushu. He therefore competed for the first time at national level with a RS250 in the Japanese 250 Championship.
During the first two seasons in this highly competitive class, which had already spawned such 250-class world champions as Daijiiro Kato, Shynia Nakano and Tetsuya Harada, Tamada achieved a brilliant fourth place in the overall ratings in 1999 on a RS250. This has surely been a fine result, if one bear in mind that many of Makotos' rivals were racing on factory bikes. The debut he was really waiting for, during the spring on that year, was in the 250 World Championships, at the Japanese Grand Prix, ending the race only just outside the points zone. In July he raced again in Suzuka on a Superbike RC45 assisted by Honda. The race of worldwide prestige was the Suzuka 8 Hours, in which he teamed up with Sahinici Nakatomi.
When Tamada earned his first world-championship points, he was encouraged to select more highly powered bikes. But the only option left, at the end of the Japanese 500 class, was the Superbike. For this reason Tamada, in 1999, went to the faster and heavy four-stroke on a RC45, abandoning the lighter and more maneuverable two-stroke 250s, becoming 5th in the overall ratings of the Japanese Superbike championship.
That summer he paired up with the formidable Daijiro Kato, twice making 8th place in the 8 Hours, and twice making tenth in the two World Superbike races at Sugo.
The following year Tamada, fully assisted by HRC, came third in the Japanese championship and left with his RC45 at Sugo from the front row, ending 7th in Race 1 and putting up, in Race 2, a fierce fight with Troy Bayliss, the future world champion.
In 2001, Makoto show what he was capable of with the twin-cylinder VTR, the Tokyo manufacturers' last model. Hence he was second in the Japanese championship and won both World Superbike races at Sugo, showing his great determination and style.
In 2002, he won Race 2 in the World Superbike and took a prestigious second place in the Suzuka 8 Hours with his team manager Tadayuki Okada. Tamada finished 4th in the overall ratings of the 2002 Japanese Superbike Championship. It is finally left to say that he skipped two championship races as he was fully involved in developing the HRC Honda VTR for the 8 Hours at Suzuka.
In 2003, came the expected MotoGP debut. He appeared perfectly at ease out on the circuit, the finest rider in the world during the winter tests, thanks to his considerable experience in riding four-strokes competition motorcycles. Tamada obtained his first prestigious result only within five races, achieving 4th place at Mugello, in the Italian Gran Prix. It was his first time at Mugello but the Japanese rider Makoto with this brilliant result showed off his talent to everybody. Tamada had to adapt his performance to the premier class of the MotoGP, developing the only Honda RC211V, and suddenly the results were quick to came.
Midway through the season, Makoto went up to the third step on the podium of the Rio GP, in Brazil. Another podium came soon at Motegi, Japan, but the pass that put him in third place was considered too aggressive and he was excluded from the final ratings of that race. Tamada ended the 2003 season eleventh, just 14 points from the tenth place overall. Ending so close to the top ten in his debut season was a dream come true.
In 2004, Makoto Tamada was again in the MotoGP World Championship on a Honda RC211V. He could count on his 2003 entire team directed by Gianluca Montiron. He was considered a serious candidate for the final victory.
In fact, thanks to the 2003 precious experiences, Tamada confirmed his strength achieving two victories and three pole positions, making his mark as a new star. He won 2 fabulous races, the Rio GP in Brazil and the Motegi GP in Japan. He also was in the 2nd place in Portugal, at the Estoril GP, ending this fantastic season sixth in the overall ranking.
In 2005 the tenacious rider from the Land of the Rising Sun will be flying the colors of the Konica Minolta Honda Team directed by the sport director Gianluca Montiron, with whom Makoto built up a relationship of great trust and understanding. Tamada has at his full disposal a Honda RC211V with Michelin tires. It is a powerful project consisting of Italian and Japanese technicians to meet the needs of the top rider from Japan.
Makoto Tamada, thanks to his determination to achieve the objectives he sets himself, his extraordinary sincere and open nature way of being, his smile and generosity, have conquered all the technicians, whole team and made him a favorite of the broader motorcycling public in Europe. His personality and his aggressive riding style, will certainly bring to him great achievements.
Makoto Tamada: "I trust in this new challenge. I feel very lucky to have this level of infrastructure exclusively dedicated to me. It will be a very demanding season for sure, but I have a great motivation and I'm sure we will be able to reach important results by the technical packet we have at our disposal."