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Katsuyuki Nakasuga Claims Record-Setting Tenth Career All Japan Road Race Championship Premier-Class Title
July 19, 2021
July 19, 2021—On July 18, 2021, Round 5 of the 2021 All Japan Road Race Championship was held at Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, as the 53rd Motorcycle Federation of Japan Grand Prix (MFJGP). The Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga took the win in Race 2 in dominating style with his YZF-R1, thereby clinching the tenth JSB1000 premier-class title of his career.
Since Nakasuga began competing in the class in 2005, he has gone on to surpass the exploits of many of his Yamaha predecessors, resetting records for himself but also writing a legendary resume on the racetrack on his way to this tenth title. Nakasuga’s achievements include a five-year title-winning streak (2012–2016) and 60 career race wins, and his penchant for rewriting records has put him in a league of his own in the All Japan Road Race Championship’s 54-season history.
In his 2005 rookie season in the JSB1000 class, Nakasuga rode for the SP Tadao Racing Team before moving up the next year to Yamaha’s lead team in the class, the YSP Racing Team sponsored by PRESTO Corporation. His first victory at Round 4 at the Autopolis International Racing Course in 2007 sparked his growth into a frontrunner and he took his first JSB1000 title the next year. He repeated the feat again in 2009 and looked to take a third but was unsuccessful for the next two years. But the Kyushu native took successive titles again in 2012 and 2013 to get another shot at the elusive third-straight premier-class title. He succeeded in 2014, putting him shoulder to shoulder with Japanese Yamaha racing legends Tadahiko Taira and Norihiko Fujiwara.
In 2015, Yamaha brought back the Yamaha Factory Racing Team with Nakasuga as its star rider. Piloting an all-new YZF-R1, he won an unprecedented fourth consecutive title and reached his crowning achievement in 2016 with a fifth.
In 2017, Nakasuga suffered several early retirements from races and finished the season 6th overall, but made a fierce comeback in 2018, setting a new personal record of eight victories to secure his eighth title. The next year, he finished on the top step six times in all, notching up his 50th career win in Round 7 at the Autopolis International Racing Course, taking home a 9th JSB1000 title.
Suffering a crash and injury in the opening round and other bouts of bad luck, the 2020 season was a difficult one for Nakasuga and he finished 7th overall. But he returned with a vengeance in 2021, winning both races of the season opener at the Twin Ring Motegi before going on to win another three in a row (Race 1 of Round 3 at Sportsland SUGO was cancelled due to severe fog). He came to Round 5 in Suzuka with a massive 53.5-point lead for the MFJ Grand Prix.
In the race, Nakasuga raced on a YZF-R1 donning a special red and white livery commemorating Yamaha’s 60 years in Grand Prix racing. He won both Race 1 and Race 2 to not only record 60 career victories but also clinch his tenth JSB1000 championship title. Currently on a seven-win streak from the opening round, Nakasuga has won every round this season, and he aims to keep his run of form for the final two rounds and complete the season with a career-best 10-win streak and a full lockout of the podium’s top step
“Even if I’d won the title every year, the fact that this record has taken me 10 years to set means it’s one I can really be proud of. I’m glad that I’ve always had the potential to run at the front since I joined the top team in 2006, and I’m very grateful to Yamaha for that opportunity. I’ve been racing in Japan for a long time now, and for the entire time I’ve been striving to be somebody needed here. Taking my 10th title gives me a lot of confidence going forward in my racing activities. Ans for the 60 wins in JSB1000, I’ve approached every race with the goal of winning it, and I know that’s what has led me to winning titles. So the number of wins is something I can also definitely be proud of. I’m thankful to Yamaha for always giving me a great machines to ride, to my team that’s prepared the YZF-R1 to be very competitive in each race, and to all the fans who have cheered me on to every win.”
Team Manager Wataru Yoshikawa
“10-time champion is truly an amazing record, and 60 career wins is something very special too. I honestly don’t think either record will ever be broken. Since Nakasuga joined the team we’ve helped each other out, put pressure on each other, and set lots of records together as we did it. He has the perspective of being the top rider in Japan now, and he told me that he finally understands some of the things I was trying to tell him back in the day. It’s often said that when people gain experience they can come to understand many things they couldn’t when they were younger, and since Nakasuga has established himself as one of the top riders in Yamaha and in Japan, I’m looking forward to the day he’ll be able to train and work with younger riders.”
Katsuyuki Nakasuga’s 2021 Season Results (as of July 18, 2021)