Nakasuga becomes first 5-time Pinnacle-class Champion
In the 46th MFJ Grand Prix, final round of the All Japan Road Race Championship series held at Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture on November 2, Katsuyuki Nakasuga of the YAMAHA YSP Racing Team won the first race and took 2nd in the second race of the pinnacle JSB1000 class to claim his third consecutive championship title.
With this, he becomes the first rider ever to win five titles in the JSB1000 class. At the same time, he becomes the third rider after Tadahiko Taira and Yoshihiko Fujiwara to win three consecutive titles in Japan’s pinnacle road racing class.
In this season that saw Nakasuga shooting for the coveted third consecutive championship in the pinnacle class, he emerged the winner in a fierce battle with rivals Kosuke Akiyoshi (Honda) and Takumi Takahashi (Honda) to take the opening round, the Suzuka 2 and 4 Race, and get the season off to a great start.
In the next round at Autopolis, he took a fall and suffered injuries before the qualifying, leaving him to start the race from 6th position. Although the victory in the next day’s race went to rival Takahashi, Nakasuga was able to beat out Kazuki Watanabe (Kawasaki) by a slight margin to claim 2nd place. Then, in round three at Twin Ring Motegi, he finished 2nd again to take him into the fourth round at SUGO holding 2nd place in the season standings. However, in bad weather there at SUGO he was only able to finish in 6th place, which left him to enter the second half of the season in 2nd place in the standings, 10 points behind the leader, Takahashi.
However, Nakasuga’s comeback was set to begin. In the next rounds at Autopolis and the Okayama International circuits, he scored consecutive wins that catapulted him to the top of the standings as the point leader going into the final round, the MFJ-GP at Suzuka. Here, Nakasuga ran to the win from pole position in the first race and finished 2nd in the second race to claim his third consecutive championship, while also becoming the first rider in history to win five championship titles in Japan’s pinnacle road racing class.
“In order to win my third consecutive title, I thought that a strong start from the first round would be very important, and when I was able to win the opening race, the Suzuka 2 and 4, I thought I had gotten a good flow going. But, Takumi Takahashi was also improving, and he took consecutive wins in the second round at Autopolis and the third round at Twin Ring Motegi. I knew I had to do something to get the flow going my way again, but the bad weather in the next round at SUGO threw my pace off. To tell the truth, I thought I had lost my rhythm at that point. Still, the entire team was working together so hard this season and I was able to come back and ride a wave that brought me three consecutive wins, in the series’ second race at Autopolis, at Okayama International, and then in the first race at the MFJ-GP at Suzuka. In the last race, there was a change in the track conditions, and the tension was reaching a peak in me, but I was determined to do anything to win the title. Thanks to the support of the fans, my team and everyone else who supported me, with all kinds of support I was able to win my third consecutive title and the fifth of my career. I want to thank everyone for cheering me on throughout this year.”