World Superbike News
Kawasaki Racing Team officially confirms Japanese rider, Akira Yanagawa, to replace the injured Chris Vermeulen for round ten of the Hannspree World Superbike Championship at Silverstone, Great Britain later this month.
The 39-year-old legend has a long standing history with Kawasaki, having raced in both the All-Japan Road Race and World Superbike Championships’ for over a decade. From 1997 until 2001, Yanagawa has had over 100 World Superbike race starts with the highlights being three race wins and a further 20 podium finishes.
Akira also became the first Japanese rider to win a World Superbike race outside of his homeland, at the A1 Ring in Austria in 1997, which resulted in his best Championship position of fourth place later that same year.
From 2001-to-date, the Japanese racing star has had an imperative role in the Kawasaki Team Green testing activities as a development rider for the ex-MotoGP squad; the existing ZX-10R and the all new 2011 Ninja machine.
Joining British young-gun, Tom Sykes for the teams home race on the 1st of August, Yanagawa will bring an immense amount of experience and a much needed lift to the Kawasaki Racing Team, who have struggled for results on this side of the garage, due to the injured Chris Vermeulen.
The 28-year-old Australian sourced expert medical advice this week in Barcelona and is awaiting further instructions on how to proceed to enable a return to full fitness following his complicated right-knee injury sustained in Phillip Island earlier this year.
Akira Yanagawa says: "I feel sorry for Chris Vermeulen for his injury and I wish him the best of luck for his recovery, however I am very happy to help the Kawasaki Racing Team in his absence."
"It has been many years since I raced in World Superbikes so it will be a pleasure to be part of this series once again and attend the Silverstone event. I have a long-standing relationship with Kawasaki and the Ninja ZX-10R machine so I am sure I will fit in to the team just fine and hopefully make a good result. I am very excited to return to England and to race again in this Championship. "
Mr. Ichiro Yoda (Kawasaki Motor Europe Racing Manager) says: "Yanagawa-san was a natural choice for KHi and PBM when deciding who would replace Chris. Akira has been part of the Kawasaki racing family for many many years and I am sure he will put in his best efforts for the Silverstone race. He is a natural racer and is still very active and fit and will feel at home on the ZX-10R machine. We look forward to him joining us at the British Race."
Paul Bird (Team Owner)says: "We are delighted to welcome Akira to the Kawasaki Racing Team for our home race at Silverstone later this month. To have someone of his experience and racing history join my team is an honour. He is probably one of the most famous Kawasaki riders and someone who has a very competitive, fighting spirit which will be greatly received on this side of the garage."
"Obviously Chris has struggled ever since his crash at Phillip Island and although it is a shame to not have his presence in the garage, we wish nothing more than to move forward and get both bikes back inside the points again."
Akira Yanagawa Biography:
Racing number: #87 assigned for Silverstone Race
Date of Birth: July 15, 1971
Place of Birth: Kagoshima, Japan
Height / Weight: 170cm / 67kg
Hobbies: Touring, minibikes, motorcross, cycling
First Motorcycle: Motor scooter
First Kawasaki: ZXR750-R (1995)
2008 All Japan Road Race Championship JSB1000 3rd
2007 All Japan Road Race Championship JSB1000 9th
2006 All Japan Road Race Championship JSB1000 5th
2005 All Japan Road Race Championship JSB1000 3rd
2004 All Japan Road Race Championship JSB1000 5th
2003 Test and Development Rider – MotoGP
2002 Test and Development Rider – MotoGP
2001 World Superbike Championship – 9th
2000 World Superbikes Championship – 5th
1999 World Superbikes Championship – 5th
1998 World Superbikes Championship – 7th
1997 World Superbikes Championship – 4th