Suzuki and Aprilia have paid tribute to Honda rider Daijiro Kato, who passed away on Saturday night (GMT) after battling his Suzuka injuries for almost two weeks.

"Suzuki Motor Corporation offers its sincere condolences to the family of Daijiro Kato who passed away on Saturday," said a Suzuki statement.

"Kato-san was a true racing hero and his passing is a sad loss to the world of motorcycle racing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."

Aprilia, who were Kato and the Gresini team's main rivals for the 2001 250cc World Championship, also offered condolences for those close to the 'fair antagonist' who deprived them of that world crown.

"Aprilia grieves for the loss of the Japanese champion and is near to his family, fans and team. We will always remember him as a fast and fair antagonist."