Round 8 of All Japan Road Race Championship “SUPERBIKE RACE in OKAYAMA” began in Okayama prefecture. Unlike yesterday the clouds covered the course and rain was knocking on the door. Under the sub-tile condition the morning free practice began and Yuki lapped 1’31.221 and this is faster than what he marked in Q2 top 10 challenge held yesterday.
The rain will come in the afternoon said the weather forecast however, it was already raining in the morning and J-GP2 class was a wet weather race. JSB1000 class was about to start and it was till raining cats and dogs so the 24 lap race was shortened to 22 laps and the starting time was delayed 30 minutes and race 2 began.
Starting from 10th position Yuki gains three positions and comes back 7th in the opening lap of the race. Keeping the momentum and by lap 3 Yuki moves up to 6th and by lap 6 moves up to 5th position. In lap 7 Yuki marks his best lap of the race and the time of 1’47.645 and from there on Yuki constantly laps in the 1’48 seconds zone and charges to the 4th position rider. Yuki’s consistency pressures the riders in front and slowly but sure Yuki had caught up to the rider and by lap 14 the gap was only 0.398 seconds and in lap 16 the gap was shortened to 0.247 seconds. Nose to tail situation and Yuki moves up to 4th position in lap 17 overtaking the rider at the 1st hairpin (turn 5) and ends the race in 4th position.
Yuki suffering from the com-minuted fracture on his left heel and the unbelievable recovery in the last 3 months having to qualify 10th finishing 10th in race 1 and 4th in race 2 Yuki have established a real comeback and brought back an unbelievable result to the team. The time Yuki hammered in race 2 was 4th overall and 1st with teams wearing 17inch rims. Next is the final round in MORIWAKI Racing’s home ground Suzuka. Hope to see Yuki in perfect condition.
The race winner of race 2 went to Tatsuya Yamaguchi, a former Moriwaki rider and Moriwaki’s supporting team “TOHO-Racing”. First win of this season and Moriwaki wants to congratulate TOHO-Racing for this victory.
“First of all, I want to thank the team for getting this bike ready for me to ride. The team brought me this 4th position and I was just riding the bike. First wet race of the season and I had several choice of what tyre to wear however, I am not completely healed from the injury and did not want to wear the tyre that I have not tested before so I choose the tyre I know and it was not for heavy wet. What I did was avoid the wet patches when it rained heavily and do my best from there. I cannot crash again so I found the limit in this situation and kept the momentum from there.
By the next round in Suzuka my injury should heal and I should be able to push even harder than before so I will do my best and the result should show. I will do my best no matter what.”
From this season, Moriwaki Racing had come back to the original class the JSB1000 class and wearing the 17inch tyres that are going to be obligated from next year and developing the machine for next year’s Suzuka 8Hrs. Race. Unfortunately in the previous round at SUGO in qualifying Yuki took a huge fall and injured both of his heels and suffered a broken collar bone. Normally it would take about 6 months for it to heel completely however, with Yuki’s amazing recovery it has been only three and a half months and came back to the race scene. According to Yuki he has been back to training after two weeks of his injury and his tenacity of “earliest possible return to the track” brought Yuki back to this Okayama round.
With a blank of about two and a half months, Yuki came back to the track to the test. At first the team and Yuki thought that it maybe tough however, the team and Yuki himself was very surprised that things went very smooth then it thought it would be. On Friday’s A.R.T Test Session Yuki places 12th overall with a time of 1’32.004.
With the disaster happened to Kumamoto, Round 4 and 7 scheduled to be held at AUTOPOLIS was canceled for this year. Due to this cancellation the Okayama round will be set with 2 races in both Saturday and Sunday one race each. With this situation the qualifying format had changed to elimination format in Q1 and the top 10 riders were set to go to Q2 for the top 10 challenge. Race 1 will be formatted to Q1 grid and Q2 top 10 challenge will be formatted to Race 2. (riders below top 10 will resume the grid on Race 2).
Saturday was a fine weather day with bright sunshine from the morning and also brought up the temperature. The JSB1000 class Q1 began at 9:30 A.M. and Yuki ran 22laps and marks the time of 1’30.734 and places 9th on the grid meaning Yuki grabbed the ticket to Q2 top 10 challenge. With 10 minute interval the 15 minute session of top 10 challenge took place and Yuki times 1’31.582 and comes 10th on the grid meaning he will start 9th in race 1 and 10th in race 2.
Of course his injury is not completely healed yet however, Yuki feels that he has recovered 80%. Despite having this injury Yuki moved up to the top 10 challenge meaning Yuki has the tough guts and stamina to actually move up to Q2. After 4 hours of rest the race 1 of JSB1000 was about to start. No chance of rain the 24 lap race began and Yuki comes back 10th in the first lap. In lap 3 Yuki marks his best lap of the race with a time of 1’30.901. Lapping constantly in the 30 – 31 seconds zone Yuki takes the checkered flag in 10th position. A stunning 10th place finish considering the unfortunate crash at SUGO.
Yuki brought back another data for the team to develop. Analyzing the data, hoping to be added to tomorrow’s race 2 the team and Yuki will fight for victory.
“I am sorry for my fans for what happened at SUGO. I ended up having a broken collar bone and a com-minuted fracture to both of my heels. The doctor was saying it is unbelievable for this fast recovery. It has been 2 and a half months since the last ride with the bike however, I was able to get things going very smoothly. Although I still could not use my left heel very well so the burden to my body was a little tough. Despite having all these problem just with myself I could not believe that I made it through to Q2 top 10 challenge.
My goal was to constantly run in the 1’31 second zone during the race however, thinking of the time from my test session I thought that it was going to be very tough doing so with average of more than1 second slower pace. During the race the I was pulled in with the pack in front and it was hard for me to get in front. Although with all this happening, I think I have replaced myself back to where I was before with a blank of 2 and a half months. Things went very well for me in both qualifying and the race so I am content at the moment. I will try to reach and go beyond my limit and see what happens in the next race.”