Tetsuta Nagashima 33
Tetsuta Nagashima was born on 2 July 1992 in Kanagawa, Japan.
“Tetsu” started riding pocket bikes at the age of three under the influence of his bike-enthusiast father. The youngster soon fell in love with motorbike racing spent every weekend of his primary and junior high school years at the circuits, his dream being to reach the World Championship.
In 2008, at the age of 15, he made his All-Japan debut and won the championship in the domestic series in his first year.
He competed in the Japanese championship for several years, winning the GP-MONO category in 2011, finishing second on a Honda NSF250R in the J-GP3 category in 2012, and closing sixth in the J-GP2 category in 2013 aboard a TSR machine.
In 2013, he raced in the Moto2 class of MotoGP at the Japanese GP, standing in for the injured Mike Di Meglio on the JiR Moto2 team's MotoBi and finishing the race in twentieth position.
In 2014, Tetsuta became a full-time Moto2 rider for the JiR team aboard a TSR 6 but was forced to miss the Grand Prix of Great Britain, San Marino, Aragon, Japan, Australia and Malaysia due to a fractured right tibia and fibula sustained in free practice at the British GP.
In 2016 he competed in the Aragon and Japanese Grand Prix in Moto2 as a wildcard aboard the Kalex Moto2 of the Ajo Motorsport Academy team, scoring two points. In the same year he finished second in the Moto 2 CEV Repsol Championship, also securing a first win in the series. In 2017, he became a regular Moto2 rider for the Teluru SAG team, with a Kalex machine. A tenth-place finish in Malaysia was his best result and he finished the season in twenty-sixth place with 14 points. In 2018 Tatsu switched to IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, on a Kalex again. He achieved an eighth place in Thailand as his best result and finished the season in twentieth place with 27 points.
In 2019, Nagashima switched to the SAG team's Kalex. On 10 August of the same year, he achieved his first GP pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix. He regularly finished inside the top ten and claimed two top five finishes in The Netherlands and Great Britain, ultimately rounding out the season in fourteenth place with 78 points.
In 2020, he rode the KTM Moto2 for the Ajo Motorsport Team. In the opening race of the 2022 season in Qatar, the Japanese rider made a masterful late charge to claim his first ever Moto2 win. From then on, the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact on the world. Several Grand Prix were cancelled or postponed, prompting the FIM and Dorna to draft a new calendar. The second Moto 2 event of the championship was delayed until 19 July, with the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto hosting the Spanish Grand Prix, at which Tetsuta scored another impressive second-place finish. Then, after following Shoya Tomizawa in becoming only the second non-European rider to lead the Moto2 standings (his fellow countryman achieved the same feat in 2010), he did not appear on the rostrum again and eventually finished his best Moto2 season in eighth position overall, with 91 points.
Nagashima was not on the 2021 world championship grid as a full-time rider but, besides taking a role a HRC official test rider, did race with the Kalex of the Italtrans Racing team at the Grand Prix of the Americas, Algarve and Comunidad Valenciana, replacing injured Lorenzo Dalla Porta. He scored five points thanks to an eleventh-place finish at the final Valencia round and concluded twenty-ninth in the general standings.
Nagashima was confirmed as HRC official test rider in 2022 and, on 7 August of the same year, teamed up with BSB rider Takumi Takahashi and Superbike World Championship rider Iker Lecuona, won the prestigious FIM Endurance World Championship “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours, marking Honda’s 28th Suzuka 8 Hours victory and the first since 2014. Tetsuta also achieved the pole position with all-time record lap of 2min 4.934 and the race fastest lap in 2min06.93. The team competed with a factory bike based on the CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP.
On August 6 2023, Nagashima (who had been confirmed HRC official tester and factory rider of Team HRC with Japan Post aboard the CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP, alongside Takumi Takahashi and Xavi Vierge) won the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race 44th Tournament, held at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie, on Sunday, August 6. This win marked Honda’s second consecutive and 29th overall Suzuka 8 Hours victory. For Nagashima his second consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours title.View Profile
Takumi Takahashi 33
Takumi Takahashi was born on 26 November 1989 in Saitama, Japan.
His racing history has revolved largely around the All Japan Road Race Championship, where he has competed in both the GP125 class and the GP250 class. He was crowned GP250 champion in 2008 after which he moved to the JSB1000 class of the Japanese championship. Having taken the runner up spot on four occasions, Takahashi secured the JSB1000 title in 2017.
Further career highlights include three Suzuka 8 Hours victories, secured in 2010 with team-mates Ryuichi Kiyonari and Takaaki Nakagami, and in 2013 and 2014 with Michael van der Mark and Leon Haslam.
A long-term test rider for Honda Racing Corporation, Takahashi made a wildcard appearance at his home round of the MotoGP World Championship (at Motegi) in 2015, a race he finished in twelfth position. In 2017, he competed in two Superbike World Championship events, again as a wildcard entry, and scored points in three of the four races.
In 2019, Takumi substituted for the injured Leon Camier at the Portimao WorldSBK round, crossing the line in fifteenth place in race 1, after which he completed a full WorldSBK championship for the MIE Racing Althea Honda Team in 2022, finishing in the points zone on four occasions.
In 2021 he moved to the competitive British Superbike Championship for the Honda Racing UK team, scoring a best result of fourteenth at the Snetterton 300 Round.
In 2022 Takumi continues to compete in the BSB Championship for the Honda Racing UK Team, his best result to date a thirteenth-place finish at Brands Hatch.
On 7 August 2022 Takumi, teamed up with HRC Official test rider Tetsuta Nagashima and Superbike World Championship rider Iker Lecuona, won the Suzuka 8 Hours for the fourth time in his career, marking Honda’s 28th Suzuka 8 Hours victory and the first since 2014. The riders competed with factory bikes based on the CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP achieving also the pole position with all-time record lap of 2min 4.934 (Nagashima) and the race fastest lap in 2min06.93 (Nagashima).
On 7 August 2023, Takahashi (in the same season also competing in the MFJ All Japan Road Race Championship (JRR) ST1000 class ) won the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race 44th Tournament (Suzuka 8 Hours) held at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie. This win marked Honda’s second consecutive and 29th overall Suzuka 8 Hours victory. For Takahashi, his fifth win ties him with the all-time record for Suzuka 8 Hours victories for a rider.View Profile
Xavi Vierge 33
Xavi Vierge was born in Barcelona, Spain, on 30 April 1997.
Vierge finished as runner-up in the 2015 FIM CEV Moto2 European Championship and made his debut in the Moto2 World Championship that same year, competing with the Tech 3 Team from round ten onwards. He remained with that squad as a permanent rider for the following two years, ending the 2016 season as Rookie of the Year and achieving his first podium in 2017 (Japan) during a strong season in which he regularly battled at the front.
Two more podium finishes (Argentina and Australia) resulted from his collaboration with the Dynavolt Intact GP team in 2018, while over the last three years, first as teammate to Alex Marquez in the EG 0,0 Marc VDS garage, and most recently with Petronas Sprinta Racing, he has been a regular Moto2 top-ten finisher (ten times in 2021) and scored another podium (3rd) this year at Catalunya, ending the season in 11th position overall.
In 2022 Vierge joined the WorldSBK Championship as factory Honda rider in the Team HRC.
After securing a seventh-place finish in his first race at Aragón, Vierge proved to be a regular top ten finisher in the subsequent races. His best result of the season was a close fourth-place finish in the Superpole race at Misano, the Spaniard rounding out the year in tenth place overall. After a strong rookie season, Xavi is sharing again the WorldSBK factory Team HRC garage with fellow countryman Iker Lecuona, both looking forward to show their potential to fight at the front.
Vierge also represented Honda at the iconic Suzuka 8 Hours in August alongside Takumi Takahashi who is competing in the MFJ*3 All Japan Road Race Championship (JRR) ST1000 class this season and was one of the winning riders at last year’s event such as Tetsuta Nagashima. Vierge won his debut race at the event.View Profile