Five of the best Suzuka races
This week's Suzuka 8 Hours looks set to be a very memorable race with MotoGP, World Superbikes and British Superbikes stars heading to the Far East to take on the best that the Japanese can offer. MCN decided to look back on five races at the former home of the Japanese Grand Prix...
2003 Japanese Grand Prix
The last time that MotoGP visited Suzuka was in 2003 with the death of Daijiro Katoh overshadowing the race and the paddock deciding that returning to the venue was too great a risk in future. Valentino Rossi cantered to an easy win.
2002 Japanese Grand Prix
e first race of the four-stroke MotoGP era took place at Suzuka 13 years ago. The race took place in a monsson and presented a picture of a competitive season with Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki all on the podium. The season however was dominated by Valentino Rossi and Honda.
1998 Japanese Grand Prix
Suzuka 98 was all about one man; Max Biaggi. The Roman Emporer claimed his first premier class win from pole position. Winning on his 500cc debut showed the world what Biaggi was capable of and if on that day you'd said through a crystal ball that he'd never win a 500 title the paddock would never believe you.
1992 Japanese Grand Prix
In a race run in terrible conditions Mick Doohan sailed to success by almost 30s. It wasn't a thrilling race by any stretch but with hindsight it could be argued that this was the starting point of Doohan's domination of the class. He went on to win the first four races, finished on the podium at the first seven and at round eight he arrived at Assen on the crest of a wave and ready to win the title. Instead he suffered a horrendous crash that almost cost him his legs.
1989 Japanese Grand Prix
The race was won by Kevin Schwantz after a titanic scrap with Wayne Rainey that was only decided at the very end of the race. It was one of the defining battles in their rivalry and their pace was such that Eddie Lawson was 30s adrift at the flag.