Shinichi Itoh to race for Honda at Motegi
28 September 2011 – Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) test rider Shinichi Itoh will compete in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, taking to the Motegi circuit in recognition of the recent suffering in his home country. The 44-year-old joined the team earlier in the season to undertake testing duties, admitting that the opportunity to join the grid came as a real surprise.
"This year I started the role as HRC test rider, but I never thought that I would participate in the World Motorcycle Championship again considering that I’m 44 years old," Ito explained after the agreement was announced. "I’m very proud of this as a rider and I am very grateful to all the people who worked to make this possible.
"After the East Japan disaster, Twin Ring Motegi has recovered to be able to hold Grand Prix, but in Miyagi prefecture, where I live, there are still many people who cannot return to work. Many people still live in temporary container housing without knowing about the possibility to return back to normal life.
"I am aware that what I am able to do for the victims is very limited but as one of the victims myself, I will do my best to cheer up and to encourage those who suffered the most in the East Japan region and I sincerely hope you can all continue to give your valuable support."