■The history of MotoGP

MotoGP Debut; 2003 season’s round 1, Suzuka Circuit, home of MORIWAKI

2003 "SKYY VODKA" Pacific Grand Prix in JAPAN: #25 ridden by Tamaki Serizawa

Straight after the Shakedown test, MORIWAKI proceeded with MD211VF#1 modification and #2 production. Considering actual race condition, titanium seat rail was introduced to achieve some weight reduction. But Moriwaki had blueprints of MD211VF#3 and 4 already. All these new ideas he wanted try just flew out of his head.

Finally, the day had arrived. Opening race of MotoGP 2003 season, April 6 at Suzuka. DORNA had made a statement earlier that it only accepts entry of teams who had signed contract until 2005 season. That means MORIWAKI had to give up wildcard entries except for Suzuka. It was a fair decision among other racing teams. But suddenly DORNA said, “We welcome MORIWAKI to enter MotoGP”. MORIWAKI MD211VF was surely welcomed to MotoGP. Entry of individual constructor like MORIWAKI was a great hope for any private teams to enter the new regulation MotoGP. That was one of things Moriwaki wanted to achieve.

Entry of Suzuka was still sudden news for MORIWAKI. The WCM offered 1 of their MotoGP seat because they could not manage to prepare their bike; Yamaha R1 engine based original crankcase with Harris frame for Suzuka.

Tamaki Serizawa, former Yoshimura and Kawasaki rider was assigned to take MD211VF at Suzuka. Prior to the debut race, his best lap time was on 2min9sec. But he marked 2min8sec at the first qualifying session. And quickly got 2min6sec on 2nd qualifying session. MORIWAKI was going into a speed they had never experienced. Under the rough sky, the setting data for the final race was obtained from the free practice and qualifying sessions.

Despite the good result of the qualifying session (16th position with wet condition), Moriwaki muttered, “We have to change everything again…” It was MD211VF#2, basically righter version of #1 machine, reflection of the Motegi test. Their direction was right since the #1 machine concept, but Moriwaki noticed a vital problem of the machine during the qualifying session.

There were many faces at MORIWAKI pit. Kiyoshi Kawashima, successor of Mr. Soichiro Honda, Ikenotani, Director of Honda, Fujio Yoshimura, Naoe Yoshimura and more YOSHIMURA-MORIWAKI Family members, all came to encourage MORIWAKI team. Serizawa finished his race in front of all these people. The MotoGP 2003 season, Round 1. 16th at qualifying session and 19th at final race. Difference from the winning rider was 1min35.459sec after 122.304km. This was the result of MORIWAKI’s MotoGP debut.