The eighth-round "Pirelli Estoril Round" of the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has been held in Estoril, Portugal . It was the final race of this season. Okaya, challenging the WorldSSP300 for 2years, became the first Japanese pole sitter, and got the third place, and won the race. This result greatly exceeded the result of last year. He challenged on his first Estril circuit to finish the season at his best.
9:00 am on Friday, FP1 of WorldSSP300 class group B had started with the temperature 14 degrees, and the track temperature 14 degrees, it chilly and severe conditions against the tires. He entered the course just after the start and spent a portion of the session sitting in the top and finished 14th (1'54.604) of group B. FP2 has started at 13:30 on the same day, the temperature 18 degrees and the track temperature 29 degrees, he set the faster time more than FP1 and got the 11th (1'53.315) of his group. He was able to adjust the condition towards a win in this session and finished the first day.
On Saturday morning, 10:00 am, FP3 has started with the temperature 15 degrees and the track temperature 17 degrees, in dry conditions. It was chilly as the previous morning. He got even faster more than FP2 and took the 7th(1'53.315). He completed preparations for Superpole.
Superpole has started at 12:20 pm, the temperature 18 degrees and the track temperature 25 degrees, in dry conditions. It was sunny and warm. Immediately after beginning the session, he and his rival's bargaining had begun. They adjusted the timing for coming into course for using slipstream each other, it was like qualifying of Moto3. He entered the course just after the start, and he was inside the group that entered the course at in same timing. But he couldn't push because the other riders inside the same group were not so good pace. For the reason, he entered the pit once and came into the course soon again. His strategy was successful and beat his time. As a result, he got the 10th (1'51.400).
Race1 of WorldSSP300 class was the final race of Saturday. With the temperature 14 degrees and the track temperature 16 degrees, Race1 had started at 16:31. He made a strong start and got 8th position. He continued to push hard, but trouble with his brake forced him to be not able to more push. The Estoril circuit has a lot of hard braking point, it was that continued to damage to his bike. But he didn't give up and kept riding. However, misfortune soon befell him. A stone hit his radiator and the water leaked out. The engine tended to be overheated, but he kept doing his best and he crossed the finish line. As a result, he got the 12th and was able to get the 4 points.
Sunday of the final day of this season, Warm up has started at 9:25 am, that morning and evening chill remained, the temperature 14 degrees and the track temperature 16 degrees. He and his team analyzed his machine's data and worked on to solve the trouble, and changed daringly the setting. He was able to improve his lap times more than Race1 when the track temperature is low even, and he could feel confident about his lap time (1'51.693 / 12th).
Finally, Race2 of the final race of this season has started with the temperature 21 degrees and the track temperature 26 degrees, in dry conditions. It was a sunny day suitable for the final race, Race has started at 12:31. He made a great start and led the race inside the top group. On 5 lap, he got the first position and showed riding that didn't make us feel the trouble of the previous day. He and his rivals were fighting hard at close range, but the other two riders got out of his group and they made the top group. After that, Okaya was fighting for 3rd place in the second group. On the last lap, he passed at turn 1 to become 5th position and overtook more one to become 4th. At the chicane, he lost 3 position but he didn't give up and continued to push. At last on the home straight, he overtook one. As a result, he ended the race with 6th in the final race of this season.
■Comments from Yuta Okaya
On Race1, I had trouble with the machine, and many other riders crashed, but I was able to finish the race. On Race2, I was disappointed with this result because I thought I could get on the podium or win the race. However, I was able to do my best at all laps so I have no regrets. I made a little mistake, but this is an issue for next season and I will further improve my ability. I started this season in uncertain future at first, but as a result, I was able to finish the season without any serious injuries. I really appreciate the team, the sponsors, my family and everyone who supported me.
Please look forward to my challenge next season.
Thank you very much.
The seventh round "Pirelli French Round" of the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has been held in Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, France. Okaya, who won the previous race as the first Japanese in the World Supersport300 class, challenged to get win again in this race.
Unfortunately in this race, rain was forecast throughout the race week. He used FP1 and FP2 to find the optimum settings for the race in rain conditions, and he continued to beat his time. As a result, the FP3 on Saturday, he took the 8th of group B and showed that be able to aim at the top.
The Superpole has started at 12:20 PM for 15 minutes with the temperature 11 degrees and the track temperature 13 degrees, in half-wet conditions. He decided to push in the first half because it was a cloudy sky that was about to rain at the opening. On 5th lap, he got his best lap (2'07.364) and challenged to break his record further. However, as forecast, it began to rain and other riders crashed one after another. Then, Yellow flags were waved at various places and he was not able to beat his record more. As a result, he finished 10th.
On Saturday in the early evening, with the temperature 12 degrees and the track temperature 13 degrees, it wasn't raining but chilly and truck was in wet conditions. Race1 has started while it was difficult to make a decision on settings, etc. He rocketed off the start, but many rivals crashed at the opening lap, then the race to be red-flagged.
After about 20minutes, Race1 restarted as a 6-laps race. The rain was getting heavier soon after the start of the race, and the course condition got worse. It looked like a survival race, but he continued riding and pushed to move up. After that, he overtook the rival at the final chicane and was able to get 6th. He finished at a single position with the wet condition and got his best lap (2'11.645).
The warm-up was on the last morning. He and his team reconfirmed the settings. And he got the record of 2'05.457, and they finished up the machine that he can be satisfied in wet conditions.
Race2 of WSSP300 class was the last race of French Round, in the temperature 14 degrees and the track temperature 15 degrees, was a cloudy sky. Sunlight sometimes came in from the clouds, and the riding line was almost dry, but the course had many puddles and it was a serious condition. The race was declared the wet race. Some teams chose the slick tires to bet that the weather will get better, but he chose rain tires to prepare for the rain. He got a good start, but he struggled on the gradually dry road surface and lost a few positions to 11th something temporarily. However, 5laps to go of the race, it started to rain and the condition had changed to wet. His strategy was successful and the chance had come. He continued to push with full his best and moved up 8th on 9laps. Furthermore, he caught up to the top group and overtook the rivals, finished to get the 5th as his best results with rain condition in this season.
■Comments from Yuta Okaya
These races were a very difficult condition with the weather was changeable. I have never experienced that the conditions changed so much during the race. Even in such a situation, I did my best on Race1 and Race2 and was able to get satisfactory results, and I proved that I can battle in the rain conditions. It was a very good experience.
I was able to be confident in this race that I could aim to the top even in harsh race conditions. In the final round of the season in the Estoril, I will do my best under any conditions.
Please continue to support me.
The sixth round “Acerbis Catalunya Round” of the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has been held in Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain. Okaya became the first Japanese pole sitter, but has struggled with a series of crashed races.In order to relieve his frustration, he did his best in this race.
Catalunya circuit on the first day was a little chilly when the sunlight was blocked off and the weather went downhill. Fortunately, FP1 started in dry conditions. This circuit was the first time for him, so he proceeded the session to understand the course and look for the point of attack. On FP1, he energetically ran 14 laps, the most in the group. He got the 2nd first time (1'56.838), the gap of the top was 0.052 seconds. This result became his confidence a bit. Unfortunately, On FP2 it rained, he tried not to ride as much because to avoid the risk and provided for the next day.
On the 2nd day, he canceled riding at FP3 because the course had a few puddles, and he challenged Tissot Superpole in the afternoon. It is very important that using the slipstream well at WSSP Class. Superpole was a short time as 15 minutes, riders made some groups in many different places and continued to push hard each other. At 8 minutes remaining, he got 3rd fastest and looked for the overtaking point. On 6th lap, he continued to update his best time from sector2, and on 7th lap as the final attack, he got fastest until sector3. He got 2nd as the gap of the top was 0.0035 seconds. So he took the front-row position on the race1 and race2 grid.
WSSP 300 Class RACE 1 held at the end of the 2nd day of this round. Unfortunately, the course had rain condition quickly, because of the sudden heavy rain that caused red flag on the previous WSSP race. He had to run in the RACE 1 under difficult conditions where road conditions changed every moment.
At 4:32 PM, Race1 started in the temperature 22 degrees and the track temperature 29 degrees. He kept 2nd until 1st corner, after that he had lost position little by little. He couldn't push because the setting was not good. He didn't ride rain conditions on FP, this made him in a difficult situation. But he changed the goal to staying on the course in order to avoid retirement again. As a result, he finished 28th but he decided to aim the podium on race2.
On the last day of Catalunya Round, he worked on the simulation and setup for the final race. He finished 17th but be able to check carefully and had a strategy for Race2.
On the afternoon of September 20, 2020, the WSSP 300 class RACE2, Okaya's last race in this round, started at 1:41 PM in the temperature 26 degrees and the track temperature 41 degrees. The hard fighting for the 1st place started right after the start and he passed the opening lap in the 3rd place. He had caught up with the top group, but the peak track temperature of this week reducted the tyre's ability to grip the road, and he had struggled. On lap6, he lost three positions but continued to keep his best. On the final lap, finally his chance came. Other riders crashed in front of him, he avoided them and got 2nd. Immediately after that, he overtook his rival in the last corner where his favorite corner. Riding a Kawasaki Ninja400, Yuta Okaya finally won, it was the greatest achievement and first win of the Japanese on the World Supersport 300 class.
■Comments from Yuta Okaya
Race1, setup didn't go well, I finished the race without any good feel. But I wasn't disappointed because I kept a good pace in dry conditions.
Race2, I was able to lead the race first half but I could barely keep up with the top rider on the latter half. But I continued to push hard without giving up, I was given a chance at the last moment and I overtook my rival then I got the Win as first Japanese of the World Supersuport300 class. This victory experience gave me great confidence. So far, I have received a lot of support and support from many people including my parents. Thanks to you, I was able to reach in the middle of the podium. I deeply appreciate your support.
Especially, in the Aragon race, I felt like my heart would break by my race result. But before, I couldn't race and my relationship with the team didn't go well. I thought it's better than those days and could put my feelings together. Also, I learned the importance of not giving up under any circumstances. MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT could get the best result that monopolizes from the podium to the 4th. And above all, I felt great that hear Kimigayo on the top of the podium. I'm so grateful to everyone who supports me. Also, I appreciate you all for sending me messages.
There are still many points to be improved, but I will continue to aim for win the race with this momentum.
Please continue to support me.
The fifth round "Pirelli Teruel Round" of the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has been held in Aragon , Spain again. It was the fourth race of the World Supersport 300. He checked his machine and course carefully in order to out for revenge for the result of last week.
WSSP300 class race is always the closed battle of many riders. So, he used the free practice session to work on the race simulation that assumed various things. FP3 on Saturday morning, he got the fastest lap of his group (2'07.161) and finished the preparations for the SuperPole.
Superpole started at 12:20PM. All riders run out to the course all at once in dry conditions at temperature of the 25 degrees, track temperature 38 degrees. He targeted the second-row, based on last week reflection. His strategy was to use the slipstream from the behind. He got the 2th fastest time on lap2. He kept struggling to improve the laptime. But he lost the chance to attack because of the big crash happened in front of him two times. As a result, he finished the Superpole in 5th position with his best lap of 2"06.445. He cleared his aim of taking the second-row.
Race1 was the final race on the last of Saturday. The temperature climbed to 31 degrees and track temperature 45 degrees. The race started at 4:31 pm. His start was not so bad and he lapped until lap2 smoothly. After that, He lost a few positions temporarily, but he had looked for an overtaking point. 3 laps to go, when he entered turn1, the other rider came through the inside of him and touched. Because of this, he crashed and retired.。
On the last day, he confirmed his bike that was repaired during the warm-up laps and finished the final adjustment for the race2.
He came out to the last race of Pirelli Teruel Round for revenge. At the temperature of 25 degrees, track temperature 40 degrees, after the warm-up, he took to the grid. Just before the race start, other rider had machine trouble, and all riders waiting for a bit long time. After that, the race start lights came on, all riders started. But his bike had trouble and he wasn't able to shift up, although he could start. Unfortunately, he couldn't return to the box and retired.
■Comments from Yuta Okaya
I started my race week believing that I could achieve the result this time for sure. I was frustrated that I could not get the good result because I set the target and cleared them one by one. On Race 1, I retired due to the race accident. On Race 2, the start delay was longer than usual, the result was very disappointing because I had to retire due to clutch trouble caused by irregular start. However, all the causes are clear, so I will do my best to prepare for the next race as well, aiming for the top of the podium.
Thank you very much for your continued support.
The fourth round of the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship have started in Aragon, Spain. The championship schedule in this year was changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Aragon round was held for two weeks in a row. Yuta Okaya would be aiming to win with his positive performance from Portuguese Round.
In Superpole with warm and sunny conditions, he run with confidence keeping the good performance from free practice on friday.
When he went out from the box with team mate, All team mate include Okaya were marked by another riders. Then he started time attack and recorded the fastest lap in this race week by using the slipstream(2’07.983/17th). This lap time was not good than he expected, But he was able to take a positive feeling for the final.
Race1 started on Saturday afternoon, There was a trouble the race start lights did not work for a few seconds, So he had to wait keeping the high engine speed for long time more than usual. That knocked his rhythm and he had bad start and dropped down the position. He struggled to overtaking to move up, but he was hit from behind and went down at turn 12 on lap2. It was very frustrating for him because his riding was so good, Maybe he could have catch up with second group. It caused by his mistakes. So he tried re-established his feeling for Race2.
On the last day of the week, he recorded 6th fastest time in the warm-up session and heading out for Race2.
On Race2, he had a good start and move up. However, When he catched up with top group on lap2, he crashed by slip-down on downhill left turn. He had no chice but to retire because of the bike was severe damaged.
Comments from Yuta Okaya
This race was very hard. Race1, I was hit from behind and crashed because of my start mistake although an accident. Also on race2, I catched up with the top group on lap2, but I crashed by my mistake. I found decent race pace, So I frustrated by the disappointing results. I felt deeply sorry for all people that support me. The next race will be held in the Aragon this weekend again. I have prepared to finish the race. I'm sure the results will be great.
Thank you for your continuous support.
2nd WSBK World Supersport 300 race was held in Portimao, Portugal. Yuta Okaya could get through to the Tissot Superpole with positive feeling as previous race.
In Superpole,he was approached by using a slipstream from behind the group. The strategy worked well, he got the top time at 2nd lap and pulled a far ahead of others. During the 15 minute qualifying session he had appealed his outstanding performance, the lap time which he recorded early in the beginning was not broken till the end of the session,and he took the pole position for his first time and he became the first Japanese.
Race1 in the evening of the same day, he changed the set up a little from the SuperPole.He made a good start and he cleared the first lap at the top.On the second lap, he was overtaken 2 riders who were behind of him by slipstream. He pushed hard, but crashed by slipdown in turn5. Fortunately his bike was slightly damaged and he restarted. 4 laps to go,the race was red flagged by multirider crashes. Finally he finished 28th.
On the last day of the week, Race2 was the final race of the WSBK. He got a good start and lead. He cleared the opening lap in the TOP. However he dropped to 2th on the second lap, but he continued to push hard to move up. In the second half of the race,he dropped to 3rd but he was able to catch up with the top group. After that, he led the race with 7 riders of top group. Then he continued to riding without crash until the last lap dispite hard contact with other riders, but the red flag caused by crashes in two places lost him the chance to get the top.Finaly, he was the first Japanes who mounted the podium of World Supersport 300 by his position before red flag.
Comments from Yuta Okaya
In Superpole, Our strategy succeeded well. So I could finish the qualifying session perfectly. I think this result is the result of overcoming the challenges so far. And I am very happy to be the First Japanese pole sitter .
Unfortunately in Race1, I crashed early. I checked the setting again and analyzed with the team,I found that ajustment just before the race was backfired . I deeply regret that it was such a very wasteful race, even though I started from pole position. I run the Race2 calmly to recover the faiiure of Race1. I think it was very good that I got in a position where I could fight for the win from the beginning. However,the race ended unwillingly even though there was an accident. I got the 3rd podium but It was the desappointing result because I felt like I could win.Thanks to all who have supported me, I could get the pole position and podium. Thank you very much. I will do my best to get the highest place on the podium in next race.
Thank you for your continued support.
I'm Yuta Okaya.I report that continue to challenge the FIM Supersport300 World Chanpionship in 2020. I enter the full season with "MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT" in this season.
After the long hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 World SSP300 kicked off its season at Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nioeto. I have gone ahead through the elaborate preparations to make forward by leaps in this season. I was able to ride with my best feeling on friday, then I advanced to the Super Pole on Saturday(1’54.113 / 11st).
I and 2 teammates challenged to get good lap time using slipstream each other. We succeeded to improve lap time, and I got 7th. But the race was red flaged because of other ridres crashed. Then the race restarted with 3 minutes to go, it was severe situation where we could only make one lap of time attack.In the second half of the session, a yellow flag section occurred because another rider crashed in last corner. I missed my chance to push, and finished Super Pole in 10th ,result 1: 53: 795. It was very frustrating result for me because I could push more, but the machine feeling was positive and I finished with confidence that I could win.
In Race 1, I couldn't make a good start, but I was from behind the top group. After that, I got 4th or 5th because I pushed and another riders crashed. The heated battle continued to final lap, 2nd and 3rd rider touched each other and overran in front of me when I entered the last corner. I overtook them to get 3rd. However, I lost 3rd by a narrow margin that was 0.055 just before the goal and I finished 4th.
Despite jumping better result than last year, I was left with a frustrating result.Because my goal was win and podium.
The last day of the race week, we succeeded in improving the negative setting of the Saturday during the warm-up session in the morning.I got the fastest lap during this week and felt confidence.
Race 2, I got a perfect start and entered the first corner in 7th. He moved up to 3rd on Lap2 in right corner before back-straight passing the top group. After passing in the next eight corners, and pushed hard to catch the top. In first corner of the 3rd lap, he finally assumed the top and recorded a fastest lap. While changing positions many times, I could keep at my own pace. On 2 Laps to go,I crashed out in turn 11 by touching my front tire to the rear tire of the rider who passed me. It was difficult to recover, so I had no choice but to retire. I crashed at the high speed corner, but I was OK. Since last year, I have challenged the WorldSSP 300. This race was disappointed result for me. However, I’ve shown that the potential of me and my bike is high. I will do my best to get the best result at the Portimao Round in Portugal on this weekend.
Thank you for your continued support.
■Yuta Okaya’s 2020 Season
・Race : FIM SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
・Class : World Supersport 300
・Team : MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT
・Machine : Kawasaki Ninja 400
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