Team Rizla Suzuki rider Yukio Kagayama managed two fantastic top 10 finishes at Thruxton yesterday at the third round of the British Superbike Championship.

Thruxton is widely acknowledged as the most difficult track out of all the BSB circuits to learn. The Japanese Factory rider's first glimpse of the circuit on a bike was during first practice on Friday morning. He learnt swiftly and gave 110 per cent effort to finish 9th in both races ahead of many riders with much more experience at this circuit.

Yuki is expecting to be back fighting at the front of the field at Oulton Park in two weeks time as he has already tested at the track on a road going version of his GSX-R1000 race bike. Before that, he is returning to Japan to visit his family and the family of his long-time friend Daijiro Kato, the MotoGP racer who tragically lost his battle for life yesterday after an accident at the first MotoGP race of the season at Suzuka two weeks ago.

"I was getting faster and more confident everytime I went on to the trac," Yukio explained. "My GSX-R1000 is a very good bike. The engine is strong and has great potential. The chassis is of the very highest calibre, it allows me to make many adjustments and is easy to ride. But this weekend I could not get a good overall setting for this circuit, I needed more time on track.

"Now I am going back to Japan to see my family and Daijiro's family. It is important that I return to Japan at this time. Daijiro was one of my greatest friends and it has been difficult being so far away when he has been in hospital. This is a very sad time for me but I will return to the UK and as soon as I make a good result in the racing, I will dedicate it completely to Daijiro and his family."

Team boss, Paul Denning, had reckoned the weekend would be tough for his young charger.
"We always thought this would be the hardest weekend of the year for Yuki and we have been proved right," he said after the race.

"Yuki couldn't get on the track before first practice on Friday and this is an incredibly difficult and bumpy circuit to learn, leaving him at a big disadvantage to the other riders. To finish twice in the top 10 at this level is an absolutely brilliant result. It proves his calibre and his ability beyond question. It must also be remembered he was riding under very difficult circumstances, losing his very good friend Daijiro Kato on Saturday. Our thoughts are with Yuki and Daijiro's family.



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