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Schwantz, Kagayama talk shock Suzuka entry

"He is my idol! I started racing when I was in junior-high school. I've known Kevin since in 1985 or 1986 when he was with Yoshimura and first entered the Suzuka 8-Hour and some Japanese Championship events. And then he won the Japanese GP at Suzuka in 1988,1989,1991,1993 and 1994. So many Japanese fans remember this and still love him!"

Did you work with Kevin also when you became a Suzuki test rider in 1992?

Yukio Kagayama:
"Yes. I did test many bikes for Suzuki and I also helped with development testing on Kevin's RGV-GAMMA 500 - a great honour and great memories for me!"

How did you get to talking with Kevin about the project?

Yukio Kagayama:
"Initially, I talked to Kevin through a mutual acquaintance about my 'Dream Team' and my passion and he said yes! But it took a long time to solve many problems with his many contracts."

And you have also signed Nori Haga to the team?

Yukio Kagayama:
"Yes! We have been good friends for a long time. I started racing mini-bikes when I was at school and he started around the same time. We also started to enter Japanese Championship races together then Nori moved to WSBK in 1998 and I moved to BSB in 2003, but we've always stayed in touch with each other. We are very good friends but also good competitors on the track and we respect each other."

How did you talk Nori into joining you in the project?

Yukio Kagayama:
"We were in WSBK together for long time and Nori was always saying that he wanted to race the Suzuka 8-Hour together, but then it was a bit of a joke between us then. However, we both began to think seriously about it. This year we had the chance to do it, but as Nori rides Yamaha, I had to ask permission from Yamaha and they said yes, so a big thanks to them for allowing this."

Has Nori had any experience of the Suzuki GSX-R1000?

Yukio Kagayama:
"No, but he did ride a Suzuki mini bike when he was eight years old! (laughs) I don't have any worries about Nori adapting to the bike and Kevin recently did an eight-hour race in America - and he was faster than Blake Young. We have a serious team and we are riding to win, not just make the news."

2013 Suzuka 8 Hours will take place on July 28th.

Tagged as: Yamaha , Suzuki , Bridgestone

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