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Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa visited Japan to give thanks to all the fans and colleagues in Honda.
Proceedings to the HRC Thanks Day began on Friday evening with an HRC dinner in the Tokyo Cerulean Tower Hotel. Alongside Marquez and Pedrosa were the HRC Trials Riders – Toni Bou, Takashisa Fujinami and Jaime Busto – and also HRC MXGP rider Evgeny Bobryshev, and MX2 World Champion Tim Gajser.
On Saturday, events moved to Motegi for some on-track action. After several test laps, the riders had Practice and Qualifying for the CBR250 Dream Cup, with Marquez first and Pedrosa second. Marc and Dani also had the opportunity to ride two classic NSR500 bikes – 1984 for Dani and 1985 for Marc. This was the first time riding a 500cc 2-stroke machine for both riders and they were very excited! They also drove the N-One car on-track in preparation for Sunday’s race. The day finished with them completing a few laps in the NSX Concept GT race car – with over 650bhp – which they enjoyed a lot.
On Sunday all the riders assembled for an action packed day in front of 18,500 spectators. Marc and Dani were joined by Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso and ex-F1 pilot Takuma Sato (now racing in the Indy Car series), Toni Bou, Takashisa Fujinami, Jaime Busto, Takumi Takahashi (Suzuka 8 hours Japan Superbike Championship), Hiroshi Aoyama and Kosuke Akiyoshi (HRC Test Riders), and ten drivers from the Super GT series (GT500) National Championship Super Formula.
The day began with a Kart race followed by the CBR250 Dream Cup race (8 laps), where Pedrosa and Marquez started from the back of the grid finishing respectively first and second! They also enjoyed the N-One Exhibition race (3 laps) this time with Marc first and Dani second, and concluding with an NSR500 demo lap and an exhibition on board of their RC213V machines.
Fernando Alonso also had the opportunity to test the RC213V MotoGP™ bike on-track for the very first time, together with Marquez again driving the NSX Concept GT car and exchanging their helmets at the end.
Marc Marquez: “Once again we’ve had a good time at the Honda thanks day! It’s a nice opportunity to meet the other HRC and Honda riders and have a chance to ride and drive many vehicles! Of course this included riding our MotoGP machine, but also the CBR 250, the new Honda NSX and the unbelievable NSR500! It’s been great to spend this time with the Honda family and I look forward to next year! This is the last event of the year for me and Honda, so I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2016 is a good year for all of us."
Dani Pedrosa: “It’s been a really good weekend! I had the chance to have some fun and behave like a kid once again, playing with some very special toys! We drove some great cars and also had a chance to ride the NSR500, whilst enjoying ourselves with other riders and drivers. It was good to hang out together, talk about our seasons and see drive Honda’s new and old vehicles! I’d like to take this final chance to wish all our fans a very Happy Christmas!"