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Miyazaki and Sakai keep up the tradition of wildcard Japanese success

Miyazaki and Sakai keep up the tradition of wildcard Japanese success

Miyazaki and Sakai keep up the tradition of wildcard Japanese success

At a rain soaked Suzuka, the first race of the 250 season was fittingly a Japanese dominated affair. It was the day of the wildcard riders as thirty-five year-old veteran, Osamu Miyazaki, and the previously unknown, Daisaku Sakai, left behind all the favourites and finished first and second respectively. In doing so both scored the best results of their careers. However the dominance of the ´invited´local riders at the Japanese circuit is by no means a complete shock, indeed with their success Mizayaki and Sakai have carried on a tradition of ´surprise´winners that Suzuka seems to throw up.

The last victory by a non-Japanese rider at Suzuka in the 250 category was back in the ´96 season. That year, Noriyasu Numata and Daijiro Katoh, who was then himself a wildcard, joined the triumphant Max Biaggi on the podium. Katoh improved on this result by claiming victories at his home circuit in 1997 and 1998, once again competing as a wildcard, and he then went on to take both the 2000 and 2001 races, this time though as an official World Championship rider.

Other riders who have take advantage of their invitation to the Grand Prix of Suzuka with outstanding results include Tohru Ukawa, 2nd in 1994 and also Shinya Nakano. In 1998, the now Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3 man and Naoki Matsudo joined Katoh in the top three to make up a spectacular ´all wildcard´podium. The following year Nakano was back on the podium at Suzuka, but not only as an official rider but also as race winner.

Tags:
250cc, 2002, SKYY VODKA Grand Prix of Japan

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