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April 5th, 2023
For the opening round of the 2023 MFJ All Japan Road Race Championship (JRR) season, held at the MOBILITY RESORT MOTEGI (Tochigi) on April 1-2, 295 employees and their families came to support the race, turning the spectator seats Astemo red.
In the ST1000 class, Kazuma Watanabe, who won the championship for the second consecutive year last year, was unable to find the right setting in the final race and fell back to 8th position at the start. But with steady riding and without making mistakes, he passed his opponents one-by-one, finally winning a fierce side-by-side battle to finish on the podium in 3rd.
Sakumoto and Mizuno, both competing in the JSB1000 class, boldly went on the offensive against the defending YAMAHA champion team and showed excellent performance, taking the lead at one point, but Sakumoto finished 5th in both Race 1 and Race 2. Mizuno finished DNF in Race 1 and 4th in Race 2. Up-and-coming rider Burupa, who competed in the ST600 class for the first time in Japan, finished 19th in a solid performance uncharacteristic for a debut race.