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MotoGP community mourns the loss of one of its brightest stars

MotoGP community mourns the loss of one of its brightest stars

MotoGP community mourns the loss of one of its brightest stars

The world-wide MotoGP community was today in mourning for one of its brightest stars, after the tragic death of Daijiro Kato. Tributes have poured in from well-wishers from all corners of the globe, whilst some of the most prominent members of the Grand Prix paddock have shared their despair and sent their heartfelt condolences to Kato´s family and friends.

Team boss Fausto Gresini, who is on his way to Japan with the rest of the Telefonica Movistar Honda Gresini team, said: `There is very little to say. Myself and the team are on our way to Japan to say our final goodbye to Daijiro. He has died after thirteen days of deep coma. I don´t know what to say. I am destroyed ´.

Former 12+1 World Champion Angel Nieto, who worked closely with Gresini and Kato as the Japanese rider lifted the 250cc title in 2001, added: `He was, easily, the best Japanese rider I have seen in my life. He was on his way to becoming a superstar and he could have been the first Japanese MotoGP World Champion.

$$$ Technically he was very good, his control of the bike was almost perfect. He was a real talent. As I say, he was going to be a real star. The death of Kato is a real shame for the motorcycling world. We will miss his quality and flair.´

Franco Uncini, IRTA´s safety representative at the Grand Prix commented: `I would prefer to remain in silence, out of respect for Kato and his family. The only thing I can say is that I am very sorry. It was something I did not want to hear. At this moment I do not feel like talking.´

Max Biaggi won the 250cc race which marked Kato´s debut at Suzuka in 1996, when the Japanese rider finished third. `I feel a great sadness, it is a hard blow for the whole world of sport,´ said the Italian. `Even though his condition was so serious and there was little hope, news like this is like a punch in the stomach, you never wanted to hear it. I am so sorry for him and his family´.

$$$ Loris Capirossi also raced against Kato in the 250cc and MotoGP classes, and the Ducati rider added: `It is really very difficult to find words at this time. The only thing I can say is that I feel for his family and for Fausto Gresini, the team manager. I feel a deep sadness´.

Daijiro´s HRC colleague and reigning MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has been left speechless by the death of his friend, but his father Graziano spoke on his behalf: `I have spoken with Valentino and he told me that at this time the pain is so strong that it is useless trying to find words to describe it,´ said the former 500cc racer.

Kato´s family will hold a private ceremony at their home on Monday evening, and the funeral will take place in Tokyo on Tuesday. Whilst the press and public are urged to respect the privacy of Kato´s family at this time, Honda will stage an open ceremony in mid-May.

MotoGP, 2003

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