Japanese Test Rider Nakasuga To Replace Lorenzo At Sepang

Yamaha have announced that Jorge Lorenzo is to be replaced at the Sepang round of MotoGP, a decision that came when it became apparent that the 2010 World Champion would not be able to race in Malaysia. Lorenzo's replacement is to be Katsuyuki Nakasuga, a test rider for the Japanese factory and currently competiing the Japanese Superbike class, where his 3rd in the championship.

Two factors contributed to the decision to field a test rider. First and foremost, with Yamaha's World Superbike team disbanded now the 2011 WSBK season is at an end, and Yamaha Europe having pulled the plug on the team, Yamaha had no riders under contract capable of riding their M1 MotoGP machine. The obvious candidate would have been Marco Melandri, but Melandri was already under contract to BMW. World Supersport champion Chaz Davies would have been another option, as the Welshman has had experience on the Bridgestone tires, but Davies, too, is bound for another brand, to race a Ducati in World Superbikes for the ParkinGO team.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, a test is scheduled for Yamaha on the Monday following the MotoGP race. With Lorenzo missing, having a test rider - someone who already has experience of the 1000cc bike and has been working to develop the machine - to take his place was key to the decision.

Below is the press release from Yamaha announcing Lorenzo's replacement:

Katsuyuki Nakasuga to Replace Jorge Lorenzo for Malaysian Grand Prix

Yamaha YZR-M1 test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga has been drafted in to replace injured Yamaha Factory Racing star Jorge Lorenzo for this weekend's Grand Prix of Malaysia.

Reigning World Champion Lorenzo received an injury to the ring finger of his left hand during the Sunday morning warm up session prior to the Grand Prix of Australia. He has since received surgical treatment and is now recovering at home in Barcelona.

30yr old Nakasuga-san is a current Japanese Yamaha test rider with an excellent working knowledge of the YZR-M1 and Bridgestone tyres. He is also competing in the 2011 All Japan Road Racing Championship, JSB1000 class, and is currently third in the standings.

A decision on Jorge Lorenzo's participation in the final race of the season at the Grand Prix of Valencia will be made within the next two weeks.

Rider Profile
Name: Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Date of birth: 9/08/1981
Age: 30
Nationality: Japan
Place of birth: Fukuoka
Team: YSP Racing Team with TRC (current ranking 3rd - Series not yet complete)
Championship series: All Japan Road Racing Championship, JSB1000 Class

- 2000/2004: All Japan RR GP250 class (best ranking 5th)
- 2005/present: All Japan RR JSB1000 class (2008/2009 Champion, 4th in 2010

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I saw a post elsewhere and I agree...

They should give Colin the factory ride as a last "thanks" before he moves on. I think he's earned it for Yamaha.

On the other hand, maybe he doesn't want it, maybe he wants to finish at Yamaha with his team at Tech3, good on him if that's the case.

Katsuyuki is a brilliant rider. maybe getting on in years but has an excellent record in the JSB. he should have been in MotoGP years ago. I cant wait to see how he gets on. But will probably be told to leave the bike in one bit. he slides like Stoner. keep the super slo mo focused on him.

at Suzuka 8 hours he was really fast with YART.
And he'll be back with them for Doha 8 hours.
Given the decent progress of Cudlin who was on a MotoGP for the very first time, a faster endurance rider with lots of experience on the M1 should not be ridiculous.

At Motegi Akyioshi and Cudlin were lapping 2.5-3 seconds off the pace, he could be around 2" off the pace and able to mix it up for 12th spot?

Unless Colin turned down the offer.... I'm pissed!

"We want a test rider with MotoGP and Bridgestone experience." DOH! I thought that was the entire reason they kept the old bastard around!

If Nakasuga is already a 1000cc test rider, why can't he test the new stuff back in Japan, as he's presumably been doing since forever? Bringing him to a new track will accomplish...????

Doesn't Yamaha already have a fast, GP-experienced guy...what's his name...Ben...yeah...Ben Spies?

Or is he going to be riding a 1000 as well?

Sorry, reading comprehension on the blink.

OK, Nakasuga in the race, but is Ben *not* going to be testing?

And they have until Valencia GP to spend them (tuesday-wednesday after GP test doesn't count in the 8 days)
I see no reason why Ben would not test ;-)

That may be the reason they keep Colin around but since he won't be a Yamaha rider next year his not going to get a test on the 1000.

The 1000 test is the main reason Nakasuga is being brought in I'd imagine the Sepang test would be quite difficult to reschedule around the testing ban at the end of the year.

Yep not much point having CE ride JL's bike then put a tester on the 1000 on Monday - better for the guy testing the 1000 to have spent the three previous days at race pace on the 800, to give a better idea of how the 1000 goes and what they need to focus on. Makes perfect sense to me.

I would like to know the reason behind Colin not getting a go at his last chance to win a GP. US Yamaha should have some pull. Enough leverage if Colin really wanted to run that bike, I would think. US Suzuki was able to get Elna Meyers a ride when, face it, there were probably more deserving racers. There are many examples of American Honda helping riders. Yamaha is bring Josh Hayes and his wife over for end of season fun riders. Which leads me to believe he's didn't ask for it.

It was a good will gesture, not a ride in a race.
Dont be surprised to see a lot more of Elena, she is quick and a PR dream.
Colin wont be riding a Yamaha next season (BMW Suter) which is why he wont be riding the M1.
Nakasuga deserves a go too. Considering his knowledge of the bike I think he is probably the best rider for the job. Criticise him on Monday, after he has done his job.

Just a theory: How about Noriyuki Haga. he doesnt apear to have a confirmed contract for 2012, has tons of expereince with Yamaha & R1, and probably wouldn't mind an expereince in Moto GP before he retires. Plus, he probably would be fun to watch.

Getting a rider who's spent the last 8 years in WSBK who has to learn how to ride a MotoGP bike all over again does not seem like a very good idea from a testing point of view.

Looking farther forward, to Valencia, if JL is still out I would like to see Josh get the fill-in ride. Of course that is looking through these rose colored US glasses.

If Melandri and Laverty were not already signed for '12 they would be the obvious choices.

There are plenty of Moto2 riders that are deserving but I assume they are not free.