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Kagayama to replace Roberts at Gauloises Dutch TT

Kagayama to replace Roberts at Gauloises Dutch TT

Kagayama to replace Roberts at Gauloises Dutch TT

Team Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts Junior will not take part in next weekend´s Gauloises Dutch TT, after doctors in the USA diagnosed more extensive internal injuries than first suspected. Roberts sustained the injuries in a crash at Mugello two weeks ago and missed the following race at Catalunya complaining of worsening chest pains. He flew home to California to consult famed surgeon Arthur Ting, and underwent a scan that revealed deep soft tissue damage to his chest and upper abdomen. Although doctors suggested a further six weeks recuperation were necessary, he hopes to be fit for the Cinzano British Grand Prix at Donington Park on July 13.

Roberts will be replaced on the GSV-R by Japanese rider Yukio Kagayama. Currently racing a GSX-R1000 in the British Superbike series, Kagayama will fly directly to Holland from Brands Hatch, where he is set to race this weekend. A Suzuki rider since 1993, he already has GP experience on the 500cc two-stroke, with a best finish of sixth at Johor, Malaysia, in 1998. Last year, Kagayama helped to race-develop the first version of the GSV-R MotoGP prototype in Japan, winning three All-Japan Superbike races. He also raced the machine as a wildcard at Sachsenring.

`We have worked with Yukio before, and we know that he not only tries really hard, but brings a positive attitude as well,´ said Team Manager Garry Taylor. `We join a lot of other people in admiring his hard-charging performance in the recent World Superbike round in Britain. Of course it´s a blow to lose Kenny at a crucial time of urgent machine development. Luckily John Hopkins appears to be just about over his injuries from Mugello, and he not only raced in Catalunya but put in a day´s testing after the race as well. We know he will put in his usual 100 percent, while Yukio´s input will be another welcome source of data for the race engineers.´

MotoGP, 2003, Kurtis Roberts

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