On the heels of Suzuki’s September announcement of its imminent return to the MotoGP, the Japanese marque has also confirmed the introduction of its own Asian series that will run in conjunction with the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC). The new series – the Suzuki Asian Challenge – will run on a single-make Suzuki FU150 and will be open to all Asian riders.
According to Mr. Motoo Murakami, Managing Director for Motorcycle Operations PT Suzuki Indomobil Sales, the Suzuki Asian Challenge will form the base of a structured programme that will eventually spearhead Suzuki’s efforts to discover and groom riders from the Asian region. “Suzuki’s return to the MotoGP in 2015 has been well received by fans. This collaboration with the Asia Road Racing Championship was the result of our intention to also train up more Asian talents who may one day race for Suzuki in the MotoGP. As such, the Suzuki Asian Challenge will be a step-by-step progression for young hopeful riders from around the Asian region. The management of this ambitious programme will be entrusted to Yukio Kagayama, who has abundant experience in MotoGP, World Superbike, World Endurance, and the Japanese Championship both as a rider and as team manager/owner” said Mr.Murakami.
Apart from the running of the Suzuki Asian Challenge, Kagayama will also be fronting a team in the SuperSports 600cc category – Team Suzuki Asia Kagayama. The team will play a crucial role in Suzuki’s talent building programme as it will become the next logical step-up for graduates of the Suzuki Asian Challenge to gain their first taste of high cc racing.
“Champions are not made overnight. There is a long progression for young riders before they are ready to take on the challenges of the world stage. There is no short cut to success and the young riders trained from the Suzuki Asian Challenge must first be exposed to even more competitive racing in the higher classes. As for me, personally as the team principal, I am very excited to be a part of their journey to the world stage and am very much looking forward to my team’s debut in the regional series,” said Kagayama.
This new addition will mean that the 20th edition of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship will feature a wide spectrum of machine capacities – from 130cc to 150cc, 250cc and the premiere 600cc class.