Noriyuki Haga back in the saddle with Team Kagayama
Team Kagayama has announced its 2015 plans that will see former World Superbike rider Nori Haga contest the FIM Asia Road Race Championship (ARRC) aboard Suzuki’s GSX-R600 Supersport machine.
Noriyuki Haga, who scored 43 World Superbike race victories, has raced with Team Kagayama in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours for the last two years, but now joins team owner Yukio Kagayama in his newly-formed team in the ARRC. Team Kagayama Suzuki Asia will run full time in the ARRC, with Haga and a second rider who will be announced shortly.
The team has also revealed that the rider selection of the Suzuki Asia Challenge is in progress, with announcement of the riders at the Official test scheduled at Sepang in Malaysia on April 1-2nd. The Suzuki Asia Challenge is a new category in the ARRC, with a single platform of Suzuki FU150s. It is a rider development program for young Asian riders to eventually progress into MotoGP; under the management and guidance of Kagayama.
The team has also announced its continuance in the JSB1000 class in the Japan Road Race Championship and where Kagayama will race the Suzuki GSX-R1000 for a fifth-consecutive season.
Another new addition to Kagayama’s 2015 effort is entry into the J-GP2 class of the Japan Road Racing Championship, where the team-built Suzuki GSX-proto71 will be used by new 18 year old signing Hijiri Yamamoto.
Noriyuki Haga: “This will be a new challenge for me. I have raced for Team Kagayama in the Suzuka 8 Hours for the past two years and now they have offered me a full-season ride in the Asia Road Racing Championship; an offer I accepted with my upmost pleasure. It will be a new challenge for the team and myself, but my long-time experience in the World Championship should benefit the both of us. I’ve never raced a 600cc bike before in my life, so everything is fresh for me; and I am looking forward to it. I hope I can live-up to Yukio’s expectations and hope to win races with the team.”
Hijiri Yamamoto: “I am very grateful to Team Kagayama for giving me this opportunity to race with them. I am confident that this experience to race here will be a tremendous plus to myself. I will do my best to use this chance that the team has given me and achieve good results, so that I can do well in the future, hopefully in world grand prix.”
Yukio Kagayama – Team Manager: “I have been racing for 26 years in Japan and all over the world and now I think it is my role to pass along my experience to the younger ones. This year we will be racing a young rider, Hijiri Yamamoto, in J-GP2. We will also be racing the SS600 category in the Asian Championship, along with producing and managing the Suzuki Asian Challenge. I hope these efforts will lead to a revitalisation of the motorcycle industry and the motorcycle racing industry. As a rider, I will continue to race to win the Japanese Championship and the Suzuka 8 Hours. There are things that only an active rider can teach and there are things that only Team Kagayama can do and my team will do our best to achieve the goals we set.”