The first MotoGP race of 2002 sees wildcard entries for Shinichi Itoh and Akira Ryo with both taking part aboard 4 stroke machines. Itoh will line up on the Honda RC211V with Ryo piloting a Suzuki GSV-R. This means that the two manufacturers will be taking part at Suzuka with three four-stroke machines.

Itoh made his debut in grand prix bikes back in 1988, meaning he is the more experienced of the two. The 35 year old was an official Honda rider in the 500cc World Championship from 1993 to 1996 and his career saw six podium finishes, including second place in the Czech Republic and European Grand Prix.

Ryo is just a year younger than Itoh, but only made his Grand Prix debut two years ago at Suzuka, finishing in tenth place and ahead of riders such as Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi. Last year he finished fifteenth at Suzuka and also raced at Motegi, where he failed to score points.