Kikuchi finishes 2nd at Motegi
The 6th Round of the Japanese Superbike Series took place this weekend at Twin Ring Motegi, home to the MotoGP Japan GP. Motegi was blessed with warm weather, which was unusual for this time of the year .
Defending J-GP3 Champion Hiroyuki Kikuchi, starting from the 5th grid, made a superb start and takes the whole shot. He leads the race into the 5th corner in the opening lap, however a crash at the same corner by a rider in the back of the field stops the race with a red flag. The race was restarted again, with full 12 laps as scheduled.
Kikuchi makes a great start again, but was unable to take the whole shot. He goes into the first corner in 2nd position. As the race went on, the leading group contained four riders-Kikuchi, and three youth riders, Okubo, Mori, and Uramoto. The four riders change positions on almost every corner of the race. Kikuchi, after dropping from 1st position to 4th with 2 laps to go. In the final lap, Kikuchi takes the third position at the 5th corner, and then up to second at the Victory Corner. He gets into the slip stream of race leader Okubo at the Downhill Straight and tries to pass at the 90 degrees corner but without success. He still follows Okubo tail to nose and tries to pass him at the finish line. Okubo and Kikuchi both crossed the finish line with the exact same time. The timing and scoring showed a difference of 0.000 seconds. However, by view, Okubo’s crossed the finish line before Kikuchi and took the win. Kikuchi came in second.
Still healing from fractured bones on his right leg from a crash at Sugo in August, Osamu Miyazaki made a comeback to racing this week at Motegi. Because an another crash could mean a fracture again, Miyazaki concentrated on making the race. This would be his first race of the season, with not making the cut in Round 1, the race being cancelled due to rain at Round 3, and fracturing his right leg on Friday at Round 4. He missed Round 5 because of this fracture.
Miyazaki qualified 24th, with a time way slower than his best lap here. Right after his start, an another rider hit Miyazaki from the rear. Miyazaki managed not to fall, but fell to 26th place. With pain still haunting his right leg, Miyazaki took every lap cautiously. However, he still managed to go faster than the riders around him, Miyazaki managed to move up to the 22nd place, and was still closing in the 21st, when an unexpected trouble forced him to stop by the bike with 2 laps remaining in the race. He was counted as finishing the race, but in the 37th position.