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Thousands honour Daijiro Kato at Memorial Day

Thousands honour Daijiro Kato at Memorial Day

Thousands honour Daijiro Kato at Memorial Day

The friends and fans who have followed and supported the career of Daijiro Kato travelled to Tokyo in their thousands on Sunday. They came to say goodbye to their friend and hero at a special Memorial Day held at the Honda Motor Co headquarters in Aoyama. Over 9,000 people were present to view the memorabilia on display recording Kato´s magnificent achievements in his racing career. The display, a celebration of his genius, featured the race machine that carried him to victory in the All Japan championship, the NSR250 that that he raced to the 2001 250cc World Championship, and his Suzuka 8 Hour winning VTR100SP-W.

Many of Kato´s former rivals, team technicians, and Honda staff members were present and Mr Hiroyuki Yoshino, President of Honda Motor Co, Ltd, and Suguru Kanazawa, each read an address to the assembly.

Mr Yoshino said: `For eleven years, Daijiro consistently raced Honda machines. He made a significant contribution both to the development of works machines and the winning of the Honda 500 wins in WGP. Daijiro´s expertise as a rider placed him above the others, and his personality endeared him to everyone. Daijiro, we are honored that you were a Honda rider. We will never forget the depth of feeling you engendered in us as we observed the mastery with which you road, and the glory that you bestowed on Honda by your association with us. We mourn your passing, and offer our most heartfelt condolences to your loved ones.´

Mr Kanazawa, a guiding influence on Kato´s career, said of his former charge: `Daijiro, despite the prayers of your family, your relatives, and your many, many fans, you never recovered from the injuries suffered from that sudden accident in the opening round of the WGP on April 6, and at the tender age of 26, you have left us. The term, `genius´, was one that was used often in relation to you, and with you, we dreamed of MotoGP supremacy. In 2001, you became the WGP 250cc champion, and we were convinced you were on the brink of making all our dreams come true. Taking on the WGP challenge again without you is a daunting prospect indeed. Honda will continue to compete in many races, fuelled by the spirit you inspired by your actions. I join my prayers with those of everyone else here today, that you have gone to a happier place.´

Daijiro Kato leaves behind wife Makiko, son Ikko and daughter Rinka.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003

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