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MotoGP riders fail to finish chaotic Suzuka 8 hour race

MotoGP riders fail to finish chaotic Suzuka 8 hour race

MotoGP riders fail to finish chaotic Suzuka 8 hour race

An oil spill on the first lap brought chaos to the Suzuka 8 hour endurance race on Sunday as several of the top teams crashed out and victory went to unknown pair Yukio Nukumi and Manabu Kamata. Nicky Hayden and Ryuichi Kiyonari were banished from the race after the American dropped the VTR1000SP-W in turn one on the second lap. The machine was patched up within an hour and Kiyonari attempted rejoin the race, but he was shown the black flag because the bike had been rescued by a wrecker truck.

"There were no oil flags shown on the straight when I got into my second lap," explained Hayden. "I saw it getting into Turn 1 but it was too late as the machine had started to slide by then. I couldn't do anything at that moment. If I had seen it earlier, I could have slowed down. All the hard work ended after only one lap and I feel bad for the team staff who worked so hard."

Fellow Honda rider Tady Okada, racing with Daijiro Kato's cousin Chozun Kameya, and Suzuki rider Atsushi Watanabe also went down in the melee, which prompted most of the teams to demand a red flag. However, the Clerk of the Course decided to bring out the pace car for 20-minutes and then sparked the controversy that would later cause further confusion in the race by having the damaged machines returned to the pits on the wrecker truck against the riders' wishes. Okada was furious with the track staff at the scene of the incident. "I'm really angry with what happened," said the GP veteran. "The track marshal put the bikes on the wrecker truck to get back to the pits. We knew this would be a problem."

Tohru Ukawa lead for much of the race but was denied a record-.breaking fourth win when his team-mate Hitoyasu Izutsu crashed at the hairpin. Nukumi and Kamata then cruised to victory in 212 laps, one lap ahead of Yamaha pair Shinichi Nakatomi and Waturu Yoshikawa, with Honda riders Shinichi Ito and Takeshi Tsujimura completing the podium.

MotoGP, 2003

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