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Shock podium for stand-in Nakasuga

"It is like a dream or a miracle for me to be on the podium" - Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
Yamaha stand-in Katsuyuki Nakasuga caused the surprise of the day at the Valencia MotoGP finale, where he finished second - from 16th on the grid - and in only his third premier-class race!

The Japanese test rider, appearing in place of the injured Ben Spies, was one of the few who gambled on slick tyres to start the race in damp conditions.

As for his illustrious team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, the decision paid off and Nakasuga jumped up to fourth place by lap four, as other riders came in to change rubber.

After moving into third, Nakasuga looked set to miss out on a rostrum when he was overtaken by Cal Crutchlow on lap 13 of 30 - but Lorenzo and later Crutchlow both crashed out, moving Nakasuga to second!

Although 37s behind winner Dani Pedrosa, the 31-year-old was in turn over twenty-seconds clear of Casey Stoner.

The four-time All Japan Superbike Champion had further cause for celebration with his second son, Haruto, being born on Saturday evening!

“I'm so very happy with this result, the conditions were very difficult today,” he said. “It was a tough race but the team were amazing and I have to thank them for making the best choice for my set up for the race.

“It is like a dream or a miracle for me to be on the podium as the qualifying was not so good. I want to thank Yamaha for giving me this special opportunity to race here in MotoGP, it has been amazing.”

Nakasuga, who finished sixth as a stand-in for Lorenzo in the damp 2011 race, is the only Japanese rider to have stood on the podium this season in any motorcycle grand prix class.

“For Nakasuga-san it has been a fairytale day, we are so happy for him and proud of his achievement,” said Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli. “After a difficult season it was also a great result for Ben's crew who deserved this podium today. I would like to wish them all the best for the future.”

Valentino Rossi, and his mechanics, are returning to Yamaha for 2013, while Spies is switching to Pramac Ducati.



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