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Yanagawa working behind the scenes for the Kawasaki MotoGP effort
Date 03/01/03

Ever since Kawasaki announced their decision to return to MotoGP World Championship action, test rider Akira Yanagawa has been clocking up the laps in an effort to accelerate development for the four-stroke Ninja ZX-RR. The Japanese rider has been working behind the scenes for the past year with a clear objective – to help Kawasaki return to the pinnacle of motorcyckle racing after an absence spanning two decades.

Yanagawa took control of the new machine in its competitive debut at the Gauloises Pacific Grand Prix of Motegi in October, but he suffered a hip fracture after crashing on the seventh lap of the race. The injury prevented him from carrying through the team´s initial plan, which was to contest the final four rounds of the championship, and his place was taken by factory Superport rider Andrew Pitt. After a ten week recovery period the veteran rider returned to the track at Sepang recently, where he was joined by Pitt, Garry McCoy and Alex Hofmann.

`I am very satisifed with my role as a development rider for Kawasaki and how things have gone so far,´ reflects Yanagawa.

`Really, when I think about what we have done since the bike was born, after the several different phases of evolution, I realise that it has been a very long road. I regret my crash at Motegi, because it meant that I could not compete in the races after it. In any case, the 2003 season will be Kawasaki´s first full year in MotoGP and my intention is to support them to the maximum so that they have the most competitive bike available´.
Kawasaki are currently preparing for the next set of tests with the Ninja ZX-RR. The bikes will be back on track at Sepang on the 15th, 16th and 17th January, with Yanagawa once again lining up alongside the factory´s star names as they prepare to go into battle at Suzuka on the 6th April.

Source: MotoGP website 2003
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