Katsuyuki Nakasuga, the surprise podium finisher at last year’s MotoGP finale in Valencia, will have the chance to catch lightning in a bottle once again, after being granted a wild card entry to the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
Nakasuga shocked the racing world with a second-place finish at the Valencian Grand Prix last November as an injury replacement for then-Yamaha factory rider Ben Spies. Nakasuga made the cagey decision to run slick tires in the wet race. Nakasuga started the race 16th on the grid but gained five positions on the opening lap before moving all the way up to second by lap Five.
The four-time All Japan Superbike Champion benefited from some DNFs from more established MotoGP stars such as Jorge Lorenzo, Nicky Hayden and Cal Crutchlow but finishing in second place in a MotoGP race with a 23-second lead over Casey Stoner is no small achievement.
Making Nakasuga’s story even more amazing was the race occurring the day after the birth of his second son, Haruto.
It’s not clear at this point whether Nakasuga will again ride in the factory Yamaha colors or sport the red, black and white of his All Japan team Yamaha YSP. Either way, with a MotoGP podium on his resume and the race being held at the familiar Motegi circuit, don’t expect the other racers to underestimate Nakasuga.