Kagayama finishes an unsatisfied 7th at Okayama
After showing a strong run, and catching up with the race leaders at Autopolis, Kagayama arrived in Okayama with confidence, where the Round 7 of the All japan Road Race Championship took place. As the machine showed improvement, his plan was to get even closer to a podium finish.
Okayama International Circuit is the home circuit for Dunlop Tires. Team KAGAYAMA is in charge of R&D for Dunlop and have tested here in numerous occasions throughout the year. For this reason, the team was expecting a higher finish than the previous round at Autopolis. Pre-race testing took place last week, and the direction for which tire was to be used was decided. The strategy was to then make the tire choice, and mature the setting at race week, but it did not go as planned. Kagayama had a hard time in finding the right set-up. Kagayama managed a 1’30.409 on day 1 and ended 7th fastest. He need to lap a better average for the race.
This week also found a new challenge for Team KAGAYAMA. Yuichi Takeda, test rider for the team, entered the J-GP2 race for the first time. This was the start of a new challenge for Takeda. Funded by his supporters through a online cloud fund, this entry was to start his new campaign of teaching young riders. This race was to assess the potential of the machine, in order to give proper training in the future.
A two part qualifying session took place on Saturday. Kagayama along with his mechanics continued to find the right set-up, and advanced to Q2 7th fastest. Although Kagayama managed to go faster in Q2, with a lap time of !’30.032, he qualified 7th fastest. Takeda in J-GP2 class qualified 12th, among the regular J-GP2 riders.
Sunny skies covered the Okayama International Circuit on race day, and the track temperature rose to 38 degrees centigrade. Kagayama planned a rocket start from the 3rd row as he did at Autopolis, but without the right set-up, the race became a hard one for him. He would move up to 6th in the earlier stage of the race, but the leaders would gradually pull away from him. Battle with Kota Nozane for 6th, lasted until the finish line. An unexpected charge by Nozane, allowed him to go past Kagayama on the final lap, and Kagayama finished 7th in the race.
In the J-GP2 class, Takeda stayed calm throughout the race, confirming what the machine can do. He moved up to 10th at one point of the race, but eventually finished 10th.
I wanted to step up further at Okayama, but I couldn’t handle the machine like I wanted to. I have to accept this result, investigate the reasons, and be back in Suzuka for the final round well prepared. Takeda showed a solid run, and we found out what the machine can do. I thank all the fans that have supported this project in the J-GP2 class.
I would like to first thank all the support I received from making this project to start. It was not easy to win a race with a machine we just shook down, and being a wildcard, but we gained important data on the potential of the machine. I’m sure that a younger faster rider would have gained better results. Please contact me if you are interested.