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Ukawa confirms retirement from competitive action

Ukawa confirms retirement from competitive action

Ukawa confirms retirement from competitive action

Tohru Ukawa has confirmed that he is walking away from motorcycle racing after a disappointing MotoGP season. The Japanese rider, who has made 124 appearances in the 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP World Championships, made a discreet announcement on Sunday after retiring from the Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana due to a collision with his compatriot Shinya Nakano. Ukawa, who took a famous victory in the second round of the 2002 season at Welkom aboard the Honda RC211V to add to four wins in the quarter-litre category, revealed that he will be returning to Japan to work as a test rider for HRC, although he did not rule out a return to racing in the future.

"This is such a stupid way to go out," said the disconsolate 30 year old, who has won the Suzuka 8 hour endurance race for Honda on three occasions. "Nakano hit me from behind, but none of it really matters because I am retiring now. I'll be an HRC test rider, but I still want to race, so this retirement is a bit early for me. We'll see what happens."

Ukawa scored 29 podiums in five seasons in the 250cc class after making his debut in 1996. His best season came in 1999 when he finished runner-up in the championship to Valentino Rossi – a result the pair repeated as team-mates in the MotoGP class in 2002, when Ukawa picked up a further nine podiums. However, his form dipped in 2003 as team-mate to Max Biaggi in the Camel Pramac Pons team and he failed to score a single podium – his best result of the season coming at Jerez when he finished fourth.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003

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