Haruki Noguchi, promise of Japanese motorcycling, dies at 22 | Sports


Haruki Noguchi was one of the great promises of Japanese motorcycling and had just signed one of the best results of his career in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours. The 22-year-old pilot, born in Nara, died on Wednesday night, early Thursday morning in Spain, at the Nusa Tenggara Barat public hospital, located on the island of Lombok (Indonesia), as a result of the serious injuries he suffered in the second race of the Asia Superbike championship, held last Sunday August 13 at the Mandalika circuit.

The fourth lap of the test was taking place when the Japanese talent suffered a multiple accident at turn 10 of the track, which also hosts the MotoGP World Championship. After the fall between Noguchi and the Malaysian driver Zaqhwan Zaidi, the also Malaysian Kasma Daniel could not avoid the body of his teammate, hitting him squarely. The test was stopped immediately and the pilot was transferred in the first instance to the circuit’s medical center and later to the hospital.

Ten days ago, Noguchi was on the podium at the Suzuka 8 Hours – the main event of the World Endurance Championship of the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) – with the SDG Honda team. Toho Racing’s disqualification two days after the race allowed him and his teammates to move up to second place in the final standings.


“I still can’t believe we have to make this announcement. Just 10 days ago, we had the honor of standing on the podium together at the Suzuka 8 Hours, and we had just sent him to Indonesia with the hope that he would win this year’s Asia Road Racing title,” Kotaro Honda wrote in a statement. HARC Pro team manager and responsible for the SDG.

Last year Noguchi was runner-up in the FIM ASB1000 class. The pilot began to be known when in 2017 he was proclaimed runner-up in the Asia Talent Cup behind Deniz Oncu. In 2018 he repeated the result behind Billy van Eerde and in 2019 he rubbed shoulders with some of the best future talents under the MotoGP umbrella in the Red Bull Rookies Cup. He was third overall behind Carlos Tatay and Pedro Acosta, now leader of the Moto2 championship and called to be the new phenomenon of the premier category of motorcycling starting next year.

The son of a mechanic, Noguchi started riding motorcycles at the age of five and always found the support of his family throughout his upward trajectory. Like so many others, the idol of the young talent was a Marc Márquez whom he intended to emulate as world champion. After his brief European adventure, coinciding with the start of the pandemic, he returned home and rode in the All Japan Superbike championship, which he won in 2021 in the Superstock 600 category. Last year, in his debut in Asia Superbike, he finished second in the World Championship just three points behind the winner after missing the decisive championship event through injury.

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