EWC racer Watanabe gets MotoGP chance
FIM Endurance World Championship podium finisher Kazuki Watanabe will get a dream chance to race in the MotoGP-counting San Marino and Riviera Di Rimini Grand Prix next month after he was called up to replace Joan Mir.
Mir suffered injuries to his right ankle when he crashed in the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on 21 August and was ordered to rest for 15 days, preventing him from competing at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on 4 September.
That led to Team Suzuki Ecstar recruiting Watanabe to replace the Spaniard just weeks after he partnered Gregg Black to third place in the EWC-counting 43rd Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race for Yoshimura SERT Motul.
“First thing’s first, I would like to wish Joan a speedy recovery from the injury he suffered, he’s a great rider to watch and I hope he’ll be back on track soon,” said the 31-year-old Watanabe. “I was really pleased to receive the call about substituting in Misano, it will be amazing to try the MotoGP bike around that track. I will do my best to perform well and give something back to the team who have given me this chance.”
Team Manager Livio Suppo said: “We’re pleased to welcome Kazuki Watanabe to our team. He has a lot of experience with Suzuki and he is putting together a strong season in the All-Japan series, he also got third at the Suzuka 8 hours just a few weeks ago. The GSX-RR will be a very different challenge, but we will do our best for Watanabe-san in order for him to get the maximum out of this experience.”