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A new life in the pit lane for Tady Okada

A new life in the pit lane for Tady Okada

A new life in the pit lane for Tady Okada

Tadayuki Okada´s Grand Prix career began as a 250cc wildcard at Suzuka back in 1989 and ended with a factory Honda NSR at Phillip Island over a decade later, with six victories to his credit. The Japanese was back in his home country last weekend for the Gauloises Pacific Grand Prix of Motegi, as Team Manager to the latest HRC 250cc project which is preparing an all-new assault on the quarter-litre title in 2003. The latest stage of development was an unexpected success, with 18 year old Yuki Takahishi guiding the evolution RS machine to a podium finish in third place.

`Watching from pit-lane makes racing a lot easier,´ smiled the affable 35 year old, who was team-mate to Mick Doohan and Alex Criville in the twighlight of his GP career. `Looking at computers and television screens all day is a side of the sport I am not used to, but I am learning to like it and I don´t miss riding too much. I am very happy at Honda and am glad to be able to contribute to their future success´. Okada is keen to repay the faith the Japanese factory has shown him over the years and help them discover fresh new talent in the national championships, work which seems to have already bore fruit with the emergence of the impressive Takahashi. `We had planned to ride with Tamada this weekend, but he was injured in a huge crash at the All Japan Superbikes at the last race in Suzuka so we changed our plan. Takahashi is riding in the 250 series over here so he was the natural choice. Sponsorship is not so good in Japan at the moment so it is important for Japanese racing, for Honda and for the development of these machines that we bring youngsters through whenever we can´.

After spending so many years with the official Honda effort in the top class of MotoGP, Okada has been keeping a keen eye on the dominance of Valentino Rossi this year and the performance of the RC211V machine he helped to develop. $$$`I rode the RC211V when it was in the prototype phase and even then it was a very impressive machine,´ he explains. `For me the main difference when it comes to racing the bike is that the settings are very consistent regardless of the conditions. A two-stroke is very sensitive to things like track temperature and weather – particularly when it is wet – but the four-stroke is more adaptable if the conditions change´.

Despite his years of experience and technical insight, the most impressive factor of the four-stroke revolution for Tady Okada is similar to that of millions of race fans around the world. `I love the noise,´ he grins. ` It is so exciting for the spectator. I like big sounds – it´s like Formula 1 but better!´.

250cc, 2002

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