Wednesday, October 5


On October 30 teenage Auckland road-racer Jaden Hassan will line up against Japan's best riders in the final round of the MFJ Japanese Road Racing Championship at Suzuka.

He will be riding a Suzuki GSX-R600 for the Yoshimura R&D Team on the gruelling 5.8km circuit, home to the annual Suzuka 8 Hour Race.

Following informal discussions with Yoshimura Japan’s President, Fujio Yoshimura, the 17-year-old has been offered a test opportunity in the 600cc Super-Sport class, a round of the National Japanese Championship. His recommendation came from New Zealand’s own two-times World Champion Graeme Crosby who has had a long standing relationship with Yoshimura R&D.

Crosby won his back to back World titles on Yoshimura Suzukis back in the 80s and the former champ, now based in matakana north of Auckland, has kept in contact with his Japanese friends, meaning Yoshimura's decision to enlist Jaden for this event is special to him.

“I don’t make a habit of recommending young talent but on this occasion I feel Jaden ticks all the boxes. He possesses the right metal attitude, talent and is capable of coping with the high level of technology involved in modern day racing. Plus of course he is young and hungry,” Crosby told Kiwi Rider.

Jaden’s opportunity came about as a result of an impressive list of victories both on a Yamaha TZ125cc machine during the 2008 and 2009 seasons and more recently on a YZF-R6 Yamaha 600cc in the Superstock class here at home.

Commenting on the opportunity Jaden told KR:

“A few months ago I had no idea that I would soon be in Japan not only testing but racing a Suzuki GSX-R600 Super-Sport. It’s an opportunity not too many riders get and I want to make the most of it. I have studied the track, all six kilometres of it! I have studied who is going to be my competition plus I have bought a Japanese phrase book to accompany me, so let’s hope my homework pays off.” said Jaden

A bonus for Jaden will be the chance to ride a World Superbike Championship-spec Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 . A Japanese magazine (Riding Sport) has hired the Suzuka Circuit on the Monday following Jaden’s 600cc event and will do a feature article on both the Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike and Jaden.

The chance to test a Suzuki GSX-R1000 WSB is very rare but it will give Jaden an opportunity to find out for himself if he can cut the mustard on a race bike with over 200 horsepower.

“Where all this ends up is anyone’s guess but should Jaden prove to be capable in both the Super-Sport race and the WSB test it is likely that he will be included in plans for the Asia Road Racing Championship, within the Yoshimura Suzuki camp,” Crosby revealed.

The emerging Asian motorcycle market is huge by world standards and while smaller capacity racing is very popular there is a move to create more international events and with it comes the opportunities for young riders like Jaden to make their mark internationally.