Exclusive: First pictures of Katoh on the NSR500

New world 250 champion Daijiro Katoh hasn't had much time to dwell on his record-breaking 2001 season as he was back on track testing a works Honda NSR500 for the first time today.

Katoh, who beat Mike Hailwood's long-standing 250 record with 11 wins last season, got his pre-season campaign underway with the first of a two-day shakedown test at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan.

The Telefonica MoviStar rider, who is moving up to 500s for the 2002 season, completed two-and-a-half hours of riding completing 23 laps.

His best time was 1.52.97, which was almost two seconds behind world champion Valentino Rossi's fastest lap in the Motegi GP last month. It was also just over three seconds behind Loris Capirossi's pole position although his time of 1.49.80 would have been achieved on super-soft tyres.

Katoh was using Dunlop tyres today but it is not certain as expected that he will race them in 2002.

He said: "At the beginning I was not very good at changing gear. But after a few laps I was getting used to it. The acceleration is a lot faster than a 250 and a 500 has obviously got a lot more power. I enjoyed today."

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff