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Suzuki to run XREO 4 stroke in 2002 All Japan Road Race Championship

Suzuki to run XREO 4 stroke in 2002 All Japan Road Race Championship

Team Suzuki have announced their line-up for the 2002 All Japan Road Race Championship, with the surprise being that lead riders Akira Ryo and Yukio Kagayama will race Suzuki´s new four-stroke GP machine, the XREO. Ryo is defending champion in the Superbike category after he won the title last year on board the GSX R750 and will surely relish the chance to race on the factory GP bike. Although they will race the machine, the two riders will not be able to score points as it is a prototype machine and therefore does not meet the requirements to score in the Superbike class.

This announcement will come as welcome news to MotoGP´s Telefonica Movistar Suzuki team, who were already delighted that the Japanese based factory had moved the four-stroke project forward by a year so that they could begin the 2002 season competing with the XRE0 bike. The fact that Ryo and Kagayama will also be racing the prototype will surely strengthen the belief of their riders Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau that the manufacturer is committed to developing the bike and is keen to bring the Championship back to Suzuki after they were powerless to prevent Honda reclaiming it from them in 2001.

With the bike being ridden both at MotoGP events and within the highly competitive Japanese National Championships, Suzuki are giving themselves the maximum opportunity to develop their bike´s potential and make it the best around. This move however will surely alert other manufacturers, and may even open the door for more of the leading factories to run parallel development projects in the World Championships and in other National series.

Both Ryo and Kagayama have ridden as wildcards in MotoGP in the past; Ryo rode to third on the grid and tenth place in the 500cc race at Suzuka in 2000; Kagayama has three sixth-placed rides to his name across 500cc and 250cc since his first wildcard ride in Australia in 1997.

500cc, 2001

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