Sep 17, 2002
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<BR>Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>Riding a Suzuki GSV-R MotoGP prototype on Dunlop tires, Akira Ryo finished first in round seven of the All-Japan Road Race Series at Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan September 15. Starting from pole position with a time of 2:05.901, Ryo finished the 20-lap race in 42 minutes, 42.475 seconds, 15 seconds ahead of the next competitor.<BR><BR>Because prototype machines race only for exhibition in the All-Japan series, the actual Suzuka Superbike race win went to Atsushi Watanabe riding a Suzuki GSX-R750. Watanabe was just able to hold off Yamaha YZF-R7-mounted YSP Racing and Presto teammates Wataru Yoshikawa and Takeshi Tsujimura by a fraction of a second. Shinichi Itoh finished fourth among the Superbike on a Team Sakurai Honda RC51.<BR><BR>Watanabe now leads the All-Japan Road Race Series point standings by 21 points over Yoshikawa with two rounds and 50 points remaining.<BR><BR>Makoto Tamada was one point behind Watanabe coming into Suzuka, but Tamada crashed his Team Cabin Honda RC51 on lap 12 and DNF at Suzuka. Tamada is now third in the points, 26 behind Watanabe.<BR><BR>Ryo's Suzuki teammate Yukio Kagayama turned the fastest lap of the race, a 2:06.938 on lap four, but crashed his Suzuki GSV-R prototype out of the race on lap 12. <BR><BR>