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Japanese wild cards make an impression but miss out on the podium

Japanese wild cards make an impression but miss out on the podium

Japanese wild cards make an impression but miss out on the podium

The local riders, who competed last weekend at the Gauloises Pacific Grand Prix as wild cards, once again put in a strong showing on home territory. Although on this occasion none of the five entrants were able to stand on the podium at Motegi. The two highest were Yuki Takahashi and Hiroshi Aoyama, who placed fourth and fifth, behind the three riders currently fighting for the World Championship, and deprived other contenders Randy de Puniet and Fonsi Nieto of precious points.

Takahashi, like his countryman Aoyama, climbed on the podium at Suzuka for the opening race of the year and was slightly disappointed with his latest result: "I am not really satisfied with my performance. I have finished third in my other two races in the World Championship and I hoped for more than fourth position," he said. "In the first few laps I could not find my rhythm and I was pushing hard almost to the point of crashing. I managed to calm down but by then I was someway behind the leading group and did not have the opportunity to gain ground. During the last laps I improved my speed and was able to fight with Aoyama. It is good to be the first Japanese rider but it is a shame that I could not meet my objective, which was to win."

Three other natives were also putting on a show in front of their fans. Choujun Kameya, cousin of the late Daijiro Kato, took tenth place and ex GP regular Masaki Tokudome made his way from 26th to complete the race in 15th. Tomoyoshi Koyama was fighting with De Puniet before having to retire with a mechanical problem. Finishing their World Championship adventure, they now all return to the domestic competition because the last round of the 250cc Japanese Championship occurs on the 19th of October.

Tags:
250cc, 2003

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