Tamada: the only Japanese MotoGP™ winner at Motegi

The man he overcame to take that honour in 2004 was none other than Valentino Rossi, the reigning Champion then having debuted with Yamaha at the start of that season. The race began with some chaos as a multi-rider crash in Turn 1 saw Loris Capirossi and John Hopkins crash out, with Max Biaggi, Colin Edwards, Kenny Roberts and Nicky Hayden also caught out in the incident. From then on, it was a two horse race – with Tamada able to close in on race leader Rossi and attack for the lead.