With its two main racing sponsors being Malaysian oil Company Petronas and Yamaha Motor Kenkana Indonesia, Sepang is an important market for Yamaha Racing, and Jorge Lorenzo is a popular rider with Malaysian fans. This puts Yamaha in a quandary this weekend at the Malaysian GP, as the Spanish rider will be unable to compete in the penultimate GP round as he is still recovering from the finger injury he sustained at Phillip Island.

Needing a rider to fill-in for Lorenzo, Yamaha Racing has tapped factory test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga to ride the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 at Sepang. The 30-year-old Nakasuga comes with a resume that includes not only testing the M1 with its Bridgestone tires (familiarity with the Japanese tire being paramount, just ask Toni Elias), but also competing in the 2011 All Japan Road Racing Championship, where he currently sits third in the JSB1000 class.

Suffering from his injuries during the warm-up session at the Australian GP, Lorenzo’s ring finger on his left hand was partially ground-down along the tip. His absence from the Malayisan GP was announced earlier this week, though Yamaha says a decision about the Spaniard’s involvement in the Valencian GP will be made within the next two weeks. An unfortunate circumstance, Lorenzo’s injuries are not expected to be career threatening, though it did allow on-track rival Casey Stoner to clinch the MotoGP Championship while at his home venue.

Yamaha has high hopes for Nakasuga-san’s results at Sepang, though this season factory test riders have relegated to the back of the MotoGP time sheets.

Source: Yamaha Racing

  • Other Sean

    Jorge Lorenzo is a popular rider with Malaysian fans. I don’t doubt you one bit Jensen, I’m just curious how you know this. I would love to see some kind of chart that shows who’s popular in what regions. It’s one of those silly bits of useless information that intrigues some of us who store nothing but useless info in our heads.

  • AK

    He must be popular, Just like Hayden @ Indy GP…. All day you will hear Hayden this, Hayden that :) … like no one love Ben Spies and Colin Edwards.

  • 76

    Smooth move Yamaha, nothing gets the fans excited like a japanese test rider… yes!

    Definition of a Japanese Testy Rider: Someone who has beyond a shadow of a doubt rides so consistent the data gets confused if it was just 1 lap or a 120, (as well as 3 to 4 seconds behind the actual pace). This is also coupled with the fact that there is absolutely no promise of a future GP career, and even better, as close to a non talking road racing clone as you can get.

  • robin

    @ sean
    i would guess twatter followers

  • Other Sean,

    For starters, I can look at the site/twitter metrics, and see who from where is reading what. You’d be surprised to know that the #1 city for A&R traffic is Jakarta (weird, huh?). Anytime I tweet something about Lorenzo, a legion of Southeast Asian fans retweet the message, so there’s some indirect proof there as well.

    There are tools out there that let you profile your twitter followers, Lorenzo has a disproportionate amount from Malaysia and Indonesia (past of the reason he’s broken the quarter million mark). Makes sense though, as Yamaha’s MotoGP team does a ton of press work in Malaysia. Having a big Malaysian sponsor and a big Indonesian sponsor is a factor as well.

  • Mustang

    76 says it all. Another case of buisness/politics overrides (excuse the pun) making a real racing decesion. They would be better off leaving the bikes in the shed for all the interest this decesion is going to cause.

  • MikeD

    Oh c’mon…give the poor guy some slack. He’s just doing his job. Let’im have the spotlight shine on’im for a day…if at all.

  • Other Sean

    Ahh, so it’s Twitter! Thanks for the explanation. I don’t do the Twitter. I quit Facepage and Mybook and Spacetube years ago.

    I’ll be an out of touch old man by the time I’m thirty five.

  • 76

    The Japanese infatuation with the south east asia motorcycle mega sales, one would think Ratthapark Wilairot is a hot item. Groom that kid and get him on a GP bike and that spells a match made in heaven. 125cc & 250cc race reps with added margins & volumes of 300 to 400K easy

  • irksome

    Did somebody really slag the kid for making a living riding a MotoGP bike? Really?