SAKAI ON AUTOPOLICE PODIUM2007-06-07 02:04
Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Daisaku Sakai raced to his first podium at the weekend's fourth-round All Japan Superbike Championship race at Autopolice circuit in front of 35,000 fans.
Sakai - in his first full Superbike season - qualified fourth ahead of team mate Atsushi Watanabe but the fastest time was set by Suzuki factory test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi who also smashed the lap record in the process during the first Superpole-style shoot out which was introduced for the first time.
In the race, Kawasaki's Akira Yanagawa took the lead from Akiyoshi and Sakai with Watanabe seventh. Sakai moved into second position by lap two and took the lead from Yanagawa, but the Kawasaki rider fought back to the front.
Ten laps into the race Akiyoshi touched machines with Sakai and fell although Sakai survived the incident to race to third position.
He said: "I felt very comfortable in the race and I could follow front runners. But when Akiyoshi touched me in the middle of race, my muffler touched my swing arm and I couldn't up my pace. But I felt comfortable on my bike and I did my best! I am now looking forward my next race, the "300Km Endurance" with Watanabe."
Result:1 Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha), 2 Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki), 3 Daisaku Sakai (Yoshimura Suzuki), 4 Norick Abe (Yamaha), 5 Kazuki Tokudome (Honda), 6 Atsushi Watanabe (Yoshimura Suzuki), 7 Yusuke Teshima (Team HRC), 8 Tatsuya Yamaguchi (Moriwaki Honda), 9 Yuki Hatano (Suzuki), 10 Takashi Yasuda (HarcPRO Honda).
Championship Points: 1 Yanagawa 74, 2 Watanabe 72, 3 Yamaguchi 71, 4 Abe 67, 5 Yasuda 59, 6 Sakai 55, 7 Kameya 49, 8 Akiyoshi 49, 9 Teshima 49, 10 Tokudome 41.
Words and photos: Hiro Nakamura.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office
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