American Kensei Matsudaira on Podium in Jerez at Final Moto5 Spanish Championship Race
On Sunday, 11-year old Japanese-American Kensei Matsudaira scored another podium in the final round of the Cuna de Campeones Moto5 championship held October 1-2 at Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto in Andalusia, Spain.
Kensei traveled to Spain directly from the final MotoAmerica round at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama and despite struggling with allergy-related illness and getting limited time to ride during free practice, was able to qualify 3rd on Saturday morning.
The first race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon saw Kensei quickly lose touch with the top 3 riders on the opening laps and drop to P6 at one point during the race, but Kensei make a charge in the second half of the race to make a pass in the final corner for 3rd position. Ultimately Kensei was just barely beaten to the finish line by 0.03 seconds, and he took 4th in the race.
In race two on Sunday, Kensei made a great start and immediately latched onto the top 2 riders and fought for the lead. The riders in the top group swapped positions throughout the race, with Kensei taking the lead several times and setting the fastest lap of the category for the weekend, with a laptime of 2:05.9. Kensei finally crossed the finish line in 3rd, just 0.2 seconds adrift of the race winner.
“After missing out on the podium at the last round in Valencia because of bike issues, I really wanted to come here and prove that I can fight for the top again,” Kensei said after the races. “But I got really sick after traveling and I knew I had to get better fast because even in perfect conditions, it’s always a challenge fighting with these guys. Saturday was a big struggle, I didn’t even know if I would be able to run the race distance but I was almost able to get on the podium which was my goal. On Sunday I felt better and I pushed hard from the start and was able to fight for the top again. I’m sad because I didn’t win, but I’m also happy because I was right there. In the end I’m really happy to be able to finish the season with a podium and being right there fighting for wins.”
The race concluded the highly competitive 7-round Cuna de Campeones Moto5 championship, with Kensei finishing 5th in the championship despite missing one round due to a schedule conflict with MotoAmerica, where just last week Kensei was crowned champion in the 2022 Mini Cup by Motul 190cc Ohvale GP-2 category.
Kensei would like to thank all of his sponsors for their support to help him race both at home and abroad: American Racing Team & Academy, Fresh N Lean, Evike.com, Shoei Helmets, Dave Designs, AGV Sport, VNM Sport, D.I.D Chain, Galfer USA, Yoshimura R&D, Suspension Matters, TechSpec, The Starting Grid, Moto Tecnica, Mad Labs Minimoto, 73 Moto Parts, Bickle Racing, Vortex Racing, Landers Racing, Boyko Racing, Apex Racing Center, Live 100 Moto, DRT Racing, Karen E. Ott Photography, Hans King, Moto Survival School, California Superbike School, and Toni Elias School USA.