• Kyodo


The Honda Racing Corporation team has announced that Saitama native Takumi Takahashi has been handed a wild-card place on the MotoGP grid for the Grand Prix of Japan, which will be held on Oct. 11 at the Twin Ring Motegi in Ibaraki Prefecture.

It will be Takahashi’s first race in MotoGP as the 22-year-old, who normally races superbikes for the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team in the All Japan Road Race Championship, only has starts in 250cc and 125cc classes at his four previous one-off Japanese Grand Prix appearances between 2005 and 2008.

Despite this lack of MotoGP race experience, Takahashi says he has taken part in a number of MotoGP tests, so he hopes he can perform well in front of his home crowd.

“I am very excited to have this opportunity to participate in a MotoGP race,” he said in an HRC release.

“I will do my best and work at 100 percent, hoping to match everyone’s expectations.”

With three Suzuka eight-hour and five career Japanese superbike race wins to his name, Takahashi is considered a promising young rider, but will face the world’s best in the 15th round of the 2015 world championship.

With two world championship rounds to race before the Grand Prix of Japan, Italy’s seven-time premier-class world champion Valentino Rossi leads the MotoGP standings with 236 points, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo from Spain and reigning world champion Marc Marquez.

The only Japanese rider to take to the MotoGP grid so far in 2015 is Hiroshi Aoyama. In four starts he has only managed to cross the finish line once, in 11th at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Despite Japanese companies, particularly Honda and Yamaha, dominating MotoGP since its inception in 2002, only two Japanese riders have won a MotoGP race, the most recent being Makoto Tamada at the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix.

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