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Japanese riders lock horns in mini bike warmup at Motegi

Japanese riders lock horns in mini bike warmup at Motegi

Four Japanese riders, including MotoGP man Shinya Nakano, were in mini bike action at Motegi on Thursday.

Premier class star Shinya Nakano was getting into competition mode early on Thursday, as he took part in a mini bike event alongside 250cc standout Yuki Takahashi, Honda test rider Tadayuki Okada and Japanese Superbike participant Kazuki Tokudome at the Twin Ring Motegi pocketbike track. It was Okada who took his MotoGP replica bike past the chequered flag first, edging out Nakano and Takahashi in a battle that was a fun introduction to the weekend´s racing.

The quartet were onboard Honda NSF100 bikes, standard machinery for such competition. Nakano is accustomed to 100cc action from his initiation to racing, having started riding on a similar bike in his youth.

`I was a pocketbike rider before, and I still remember how it feels to ride bikes like this. It was an enjoyable race today,´ said Nakano afterwards.

`I think that the pocketbike stage of a rider´s career is quite important, and that is why now when I want to help young riders I organise a pocketbike race once a year.´

The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider´s future prospects are perhaps less of a reason for smiles, with no contract signed thus far for next season. Current teammate Alex de Angelis´ option of an extension has already been taken up, but Nakano does not necessarily mean that he will be left out in the cold.

`I don´t know about the future yet. The situation appears not to be so easy for me, and it is unclear at the moment,´ admits the 30 year-old.

`In any case, I want to concentrate on the rest of the season, because things can often change after a good result. My goal for Motegi is a podium, which I know will be hard.´

Nakano last stepped onto the rostrum at Assen in 2006, where he took second place onboard a Kawasaki.

MotoGP, 2008, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Honda Gresini

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