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MotoGP to honour Kato at Motegi ceremony

MotoGP to honour Kato at Motegi ceremony

MotoGP to honour Kato at Motegi ceremony

Daijiro Kato will be honoured by the MotoGP community in a special ceremony at Motegi later this year. After consultation with the former 250cc World Champion´s father, an honorary guest at the Gran Premio Cinzano d´Italia this weekend, Team Gresini and Honda, Kato will be named as a MotoGP Legend at the Gauloises Pacific Grand Prix of Motegi in October and the number 74 will be officially presented to his family. From then on, no rider will be able to use this number in the MotoGP World Championship unless they have the express permission of Kato´s family.

Daijiro Kato won the hearts of race fans all over the world in a World Championship career which began with an incredible 250cc wildcard ride at Suzuka in 1996 when he finished on the podium in third place. Two further wildcard appearances at the same circuit reaped two victories, and Kato began a full-time Grand Prix career with Honda in 2000, winning the title at the second attempt. He earned the Rookie of the Year title in 2002 when he stepped up to the MotoGP class, establishing himself as Japan´s greatest hope of winning the coveted premier-class title for the first time. However, serious injuries sustained in a third lap crash in the opening round of the 2003 season at Suzuka put paid to his life at the tender age of 26.

Kato is survived by his wife Makiko and his two children Ikko and Rinka, and is remembered with great fondness by those who knew and worked with him. He will be the first Japanese World Champion to join fellow MotoGP Legends Mick Doohan, Giacomo Agostini, Angel Nieto, Mike Hailwood, Kenny Roberts, Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey, Carlo Ubbiali, Freddie Spencer, Anton Mang, Wayne Gardner, Barry Sheene, Geoff Duke and Phil Read in the MotoGP Hall of Fame. John Surtees will also have been inducted as a MotoGP Legend in a ceremony scheduled for July 10th at Donington.

MotoGP, 2003, Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia

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