|Honda Announces its 2001 Motorcycle Racing Activities|
|January 19, 2001---Honda Motor Co., Ltd., today announced its motorcycle racing activities and strategies for both the national and international arenas in the 2001 season. The company is fully committed to defending its domestic championship titles (Motocross and Trial) as well as the world titles (Superbike, Motocross and Trial) clinched last year. Honda has also renewed its commitment to regaining the championship titles in the Road Race World Championship (500cc and 250cc classes) and the Japanese Road Race title in the coming season.
World Championship Series
Road Race World Championship
In the Road Race World Championship (MotoGP), Honda will enter six NSR500s representing four different teams in order to regain the 500cc class rider's championship title which the company failed to clinch for the first time in seven years. Two NSR250s from one team will participate in the 250cc class in the MotoGP.
Alex Criville (Spain), the 1999 Series Champion, will race for the REPSOL YPF HONDA team in order to regain the series championship at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing and Tohru Ukawa (Japan), a new graduate from the 250cc class in which he played a major role in the Honda 250cc squad for five years until the end of the 2000 season, will join him. Valentino Rossi (Italy) will renew his challenge for this title, staying with NASTRO AZZURRO Honda. He won two events in his 500cc debut season, surprising the paddock by coming second overall.
Additionally, Alex Barros (Brazil) and Loris Capirossi (Italy), each of whom earned two victories in the 2000 season, will continue their challenges in the Honda PONS team. Barros was fourth overall while his teammate Capirossi was ranked seventh.
HARDWICK RACING, for whom Ukawa raced last year, will field a new entrant in this class. The team will enter Chris Walker (Great Britain), a participant in the last year's British Superbike Championship, for the MotoGP 500cc class.
Daijiro Kato (Japan), a youngster of outstanding ability who won four races in his debut year, will participate in the 250cc class again this year. He will embark upon a new partnership with Emilio Alzamora (Spain), the 1999 125cc class champion, in TEAM TELEFONICA MOVISTAR Honda owned by the legendary rider, Fausto Gresini.
World Superbike Championship Series
As was the case last season, Honda will participate in the 2001 World Superbike Championship Series (WSB) with two VTR1000SPWs representing one team in order to defend the title Honda won in the 2000 season.
Colin Edwards (United States) who won the Championship by winning eight races with the VTR1000SPW, a special development for the 2000 season challenge, will be hoping to become a double champion. Joining him in Castrol Honda is Tadayuki Okada (Japan), known for his MotoGP participation as a Honda factory rider in REPSOL YPF HONDA.
Motocross World Championship Series
Honda will enter one CR250R in the Motocross World Championship Series having won the 2000 year title with a CR250R.
The challenge will be taken up by last year's champion, Frederic Bolley (France) of Pamo Racing who is committed to doing his utmost in extending his consecutive title winning record to three.
Trial World Championship Series
A COTA315R, last year's winning motorcycle, and an RTL will be entered in the 2001 Trial World Championship in which Honda remains the team to be beaten.
Dougie Lampkin (Great Britain), competing on a COTA315R, is fully committed to defending his title streak to bring it to five consecutive seasons. Takahisa Fujinami (Japan), the runner-up for two consecutive years, will ride an RTL with the aim of finishing in the top slot in the overall classification. These two riders will be serviced by MONTESA HRC.
Japanese Championship Series
Japanese Road Race Championship Series
In the Superbike Class of the Japanese Road Race Championship, two VTR1000SPWs representing one team will participate in order to regain the class title which Honda lost last year.
Makoto Tamada (Japan), ranked third overall with the RVF RC45 in last year's series, and Tatsuya Yamaguchi (Japan), 9th overall in the previous season, will join forces in Team CABIN HONDA.
Japanese Motocross Championship Series
Honda will enter two RC250Ms, the championship winner in 2000, and a four-stroke experimental racing motorcycle, CRF450R, purely for development purposes.
The two RC250Ms will be shared by Ryuichiro Takahama (Japan), last year's series champion, and Yoshitaka Atsuta (Japan). TEAM HRC has also given Kazuyoshi Odagiri (Japan) the opportunity to participate in the series on the CRF450R.
Japanese Trial Championship Series
In the Japanese Trial Championship, where Honda has achieved three-consecutive titles, Takahisa Fujinami (Japan) from TEAM HRC has made up his mind to defend the honor for the fourth consecutive year. He will have a busy season due to his double entry in both the domestic and international challenges.