Team Suzuki Press Office – August 26th
Following the injury suffered by Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir at the Red Bull Ring on August 21st, the Mallorcan rider was advised to take 15 days’ rest to allow the bone and ligament damage in his right ankle to heal. This meant that he would miss the forthcoming San Marino Grand Prix, and Suzuki began discussions about possible replacement options for that event.
The factory has now decided that Suzuki stalwart Kazuki Watanabe will jump onboard Mir’s GSX-RR for the race in Italy.
The 31-year old Japanese rider is a successful member of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) squad, where he acts as reserve rider but has also been part of the starting line-up, including at the legendary Suzuka 8 Hours race just weeks ago where he finished on the podium in a two rider line-up, adding to his multiple Top 5 finishes at the event. He also competes on a GSX-R1000R in the illustrious All Japan Road Race series for Yukio Kagayama’s team, Yoshimura Suzuki RideWin. He has enjoyed success in the series in recent years, and he currently sits 3rd in the championship standings.
“First thing’s first, I would like to wish Joan a speedy recovery from the injury he suffered, he’s a great rider to watch and I hope he’ll be back on track soon.
I was really pleased to receive the call about substituting in Misano, it will be amazing to try the MotoGP bike around that track. I will do my best to perform well and give something back to the team who have given me this chance.”
Livio Suppo – Team Manager
“We are very sorry that Joan won't be able to race in Misano and we wish him a fast recovery! Meanwhile we’re pleased to welcome Kazuki Watanabe to our team, he has a lot of experience with Suzuki and he is putting together a strong season in the All Japan series, he also got 3rd at Suzuka 8 hours just a few weeks ago. The GSX-RR will be a very different challenge, but we will do our best for Watanabe-san in order for him to get the maximum out of this experience!”