Kato, who was at the MMRT race track at nearby Sriperumbudur to witness action in the fourth round of the MMSC FMSCI National motorcycle racing championship over the last weekend, was delighted with the performance as Honda riders took honours in various categories.
“..I believe the younger generation is showing immense promise. We just started the India talent hunt last year and we have already found some potential riders. This time, there is a 12-year-old in the NSF250R category,” he added.
Kato was impressed with the performances of Chennai rider Rajiv Sethu who won his sixth straight race in Pro-Stock 165cc event and 14-year-old Mohamed Mikail, who Honda is sponsoring in the Thai Talent Cup and sizzled in the NSF250R category, setting record lap times.
Kato, who took over at Honda India two years ago, said the NSF250R bikes which are Moto3 grade were the best way to groom talented young riders.
“From our experiences in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, NSF250R is the best way to develop young riders. When I first came to India, I asked the team to focus on developing young riders,” he added.
He also said they had been able to convince the government to allow export of the 250R bikes.
Prabhu Nagaraj, vice-president (brand and communications) at HMSI, was delighted with the performances of the Honda Racing riders and said Rajiv Sethu and Anish Shetty had been particularly impressive.
He also said the Talent Hunt launched by Honda had helped unearth some good, young riders, adding there was a need to take it to more places.