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Aug 1, 2002

Edwards Replaces Ukawa For Suzuka 8-Hours

From a press release:<BR><BR>HONDA RACING INFORMATION<BR><BR>SUZUKA 8 HOURS NEWS: Edwards replaces Ukawa/ Doohan rode the RC211V machine<BR><BR><BR>Colin Edwards Replaces Tohru Ukawa on Cabin Honda for Suzuka 8 Hours<BR><BR>American Colin Edwards has been drafted into the Cabin Honda Suzuka 8 Hours team as replacement for the injured Tohru Ukawa. Edwards will partner reigning 250cc World Champion Daijiro Katoh on the Cabin liveried #11 big twin-cylinder VTR1000SP-W for the race.<BR><BR>World Superbike Championship campaigner Edwards, who won the corresponding race last year, while racing with Valentino Rossi, is very much the man in form. Edwards arrives at Suzuka fresh from a double victory for team Castrol Honda at the European round of the Superbike series, held at Brands Hatch, England, last Sunday.<BR><BR>Texan Edwards said of Sunday's race. "Racing with Katoh will be good, he's very fast at Suzuka. It will be interesting to see how he sets the machine up compared to our World Superbike settings. Although I've been told he has already tested with the settings I used last year and says he can run with the same bike set-up. From the practice we've had at Suzuka so far I'm sure we've got a machine and tyres capable of winning the race again. The SP-2 is a big improvement on last year's machine and I'd love to win a third 8-hours race on the machine.<BR><BR>"The Suzuka 8 hours is a good event, very much hard work on a rider but, like last year's victory, it can be very rewarding if you win. The race is at a good time of year for me, once it's over we've a break and a chance to kick back at home," concluded Edwards.<BR><BR>Ukawa decided to stand down after consultation with his doctors. The popular MotoGP rider sustained a broken bone in his right foot, and a badly bruised lower spine in a high speed crash in free practice for the British Grand Prix, in mid-July. He raced to a third place finish at the German GP two weeks ago but the 8-hours is the most grueling event on the motorcycle-racing calendar, a race that demands 100% physical and mental effort from competitors. Ukawa's physicians advised Ukawa against racing as the effort required could hinder his recovery to full strength in time for the next MotoGP Championship race, at the Czech Republic, on August 25.<BR><BR><BR>Doohan Rides RC211V Honda at Eve of Suzuka 8 Hours 25th Anniversary Festival<BR><BR>Former 500cc World Champion Michael Doohan rode a specially prepared version of the Honda RC211V MotoGP machine at Suzuka tonight. The RCV has been prepared for Doohan at the request of Suzuka circuit who wished to see the five-time World Champion take part in special 'Eve of the 8 Hours' 25th Anniversary festival.<BR><BR>Honda felt the special occasion merited an appearance by their newest MotoGP race machine. As the festival takes place on Saturday night, prior to Sunday's race, the RC211V has been furnished with headlights for the event.<BR><BR>The lighting system is a one-off. Despite this being a solo appearance, Honda decided to equip the machine with something special for the festival. They have opted to use a 'Line Beam' headlight currently under development by Honda R&D. The headlight is a variety of the multi-reflector type. It features a smaller lens area than existing models, yet provides the same level of brightness and illumination, as the motorcycle headlights currently in use. The system is under development and could feature on production models at some time in the future.<BR><BR>Doohan, who won the 8-hours in 1991, put in several laps of the Suzuka circuit aboard the RCV, the machine that Shinichi Itoh raced to fourth place at the Japanese GP in April, to re-acquaint himself with the motorcycle. His last outing on the 990cc five-cylinder four-stroke was at the Pacific GP, at Twin Ring Motegi, last October.<BR><BR>Honda have a policy of developing technology for production machines through their racing activities, and will continue to do so but Doohan's Suzuka Festival RCV is not the forerunner of a street going RCV. As no development plan exists, there is no likelihood of a production RCV appearing within the next one or two years.<BR>