...but upon closer inspection, learned that an extension was riveted on to keep his boot from getting caught on the shroud.
The subframe and airbox on the factory Suzuki's were a single, carbon fiber part. When we asked Atsuta if the part altered the bike's feel at all, he said, "No, it is just for light weight and it makes me feel faster. If they made me an entire bike from carbon fiber, I would feel even faster!"
Kei Yamamoto is the factory Suzuki IA2 rider, and this is his RM-Z250. His bike featured a ton of special parts, but we spotted no significant differences that would indicate big changes for 2013. Yamamoto was fourth in the IA2 National.
A Hinson clutch assembly and a Yoshimura exhaust are complimented by factory motor mounts and a carbon skid plate.
It was good to see our friend Yoshiki Inagaki in Kumamoto. Inagaki finished third overall in the IA2 championship as a privateer in 2011, and made his IA1 debut at Kyushu. We met Inagaki at the Milestone round of the Muscle Milk TWMX Race Series Winter Cup.
Inagaki had some first-race jitters that held him to 13th overall, but he hopes to improve as the series wears on.
Inagaki's team, Blue Eagles Suzuki, is sponsored by a company that makes both a mud release agent for plastic (Mud Off), and fish snacks (square logo). Inagaki is also sponsored by Akrapovic, which is a rarity in the sea of Yoshimura, Mugen and OEM systems on the MFJ circuit.
One of the coolest things we spotted on Inagaki's bike was this Zeta starting device, which includes a right-side fork guard with the button already built in!
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