It has been ten years since the day that motorcycle racing lost a bright young star in the shape of 2001 250cc World Champion Daijiro Kato. Kato rode an impressive debut season in MotoGP, finishing 7th place in the championships after achieving two second positions in 2002 racing for Fausto Gresini’s squad.
|Bautisa’s bike with Kato tributes
Photo: Gresini Racing
Continuing with Gresini in 2003, Kato was tipped for further success however at the first round of the season in Japan at the Suzuka race circuit – Kato hit a wall on his Honda RC211V causing fatal injuries.
To mark the occasion, the Gresini team are to run a tribute to Kato on their bikes this weekend. Kato’s number 74 will be seen on Alvaro Bautista’s and Bryan Starings MotoGP machines and will also be on the Gresini Moto2 and Moto3 machines.
Fausto Gresini said: “The 20th April is a very sad day for us because it marks exactly ten years since we lost Daijiro Kato in a tragic accident in Japan. Today we want to remember him as we knew him, with that smile that met each of his Grand Prix wins and lit up his face on so many occasions away from the track. His simplicity, combined with his inspired commitment, were two extraordinary facets of his character. Today we will have the number 74 on all of our bikes – a fitting tribute to a great champion who will always remain in our hearts and who we want to be remembered forever.”