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Daijiro Kato laid to rest during a private ceremony in Tokyo

Daijiro Kato laid to rest during a private ceremony in Tokyo

Daijiro Kato laid to rest during a private ceremony in Tokyo

Daijiro Kato was buried today in Japan with some1500 people including family, friends and dignitaries from the motorcycle-racing world in attendance. The private ceremony took place at the Kaneiji temple in Tokio, at 12pm (local time). Looking on with his widow Makiko, his son of two years Ikko and daughter Rinka, who is not yet a month old, his mother Hatsumi, who was carrying a portrait of her son, were members of his race team with boss Fausto Gresini at the head. Also present were various representatives of Honda, including top boss Suguru Kanazawa, many riders from the Japanese Championship and MotoGP who raced with Kato throughout his career, as well as a representative of Dorna. `We rode together from when we were kids and we were only just speaking before the race. It is incredible. I just cannot get used to the idea,´ said close friend Norick Abe.

Although a private an closed affair, hundreds of fans gathered at the gates of the temple to pay homage to the rider who died last Sunday after being in a coma for 13 days following his tragic accident on April 6th in Suzuka, during the first Grand Prix of the 2003 season.

Honda will organise an opening ceremony for the public in the middle of May at their HQ in Tokyo. In the same building of the Japanese factory an exhibition in tribute of Kato was opened yesterday. The show includes a selection of photographs and some bikes of the deceased rider, between them the NSR250 with which he won the title in 2001, the NSR500 he rode in 2002 and the VTR1000SPW that he used to win the Suzuka eight-hour with Colin Edwards in 2002. Hundreds of sympathisers and fans have already visited the ´shrine´ and left messages and flowers. In the Suzuka circuit at the point where he crashed, people have offered their condolences and paid their respects.

MotoGP, 2003

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