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Tetsuya Harada profile

By Dan Moakes
September 4 2003

Tetsuya Harada
nationality · Japanese
born · 14 June 1970
grand prix début · 1990

One of the greatest exponents of 250cc racing over the last decade, Tetsuya Harada concluded a successful Grand Prix career riding a Honda NSR500 in the 2002 season. Initially a Yamaha man, Tetsuya took the 250 World Championship title at his first attempt, and came close on a number of subsequent occasions, latterly for Aprilia. He goes into retirement with a total of seventeen wins to his name, all in the 250 class

Japanese Junior 125cc Champion

2nd in All-Japan 250cc championship; World Championship 250cc début
As a wildcard entrant at Suzuka, on the number 44 Yamaha, Tetsuya finished seventh first time out

2nd in All-Japan 250cc championship; World Championship 250cc, number 52 Yamaha
This time, Harada qualified third for his outing at Suzuka, finishing sixth in the race

All-Japan 250cc Champion; World Championship 250cc, number 52 Yamaha
In his third run as a wildcard at home, Tetsuya started from second on the grid, for Nescafé Can RT Yamaha, but was not to make the finish

Tetsuya Harada 1993 - photo by Elliot L Doering
photo by Elliot L Doering ·

1993 Telkor-Yamaha Valesi, number 31 Yamaha
In his first full season of racing 250cc GPs, Harada claimed the title with 197 points and seven podiums results, beating Loris Capirossi by a four point margin. Wins came in the races of Australia, Japan and at Jeréz and Járama, both in Spain

1994 Yamaha Motor France, number 1 Yamaha
Harada’s title defence was disrupted by injuries and, as a result, his best finish was a single second place, achieved in Italy. Four more top five results helped him to seventh overall, on 109 points

1995 Marlboro Team Rainey, number 7 Yamaha
In 1995, Tetsuya was the main competitor for reigning 250 champ Max Biaggi, with the Italian coming out on top after winning eight times. Using his smooth skills to make up for a lack of power, Harada was victor only in the Spanish GP, despite three pole positions. Having to make do with second position a further eight times, he ended up second overall on 220 points

1996 Marlboro Yamaha Rainey, number 31 Yamaha
Having achieved only four podiums on the YZR, one of these a win in Indonesia, the frustrated Harada looked ready to quit racing altogether - that is until Aprilia recruited him for the following season. 104 points represented only eighth overall

1997 Aprilia Racing Team, number 31 Aprilia
A return to form on the new bike brought Tetsuya thirteen top five results, nine of them on the podium, with wins in France, the Netherlands and Germany. A career high of 235 points, however, was only enough for third in the 250cc table, behind the Honda mounted Biaggi and Ralf Waldmann

1998 Aprilia Grand Prix Racing Team, number 31 Aprilia
Having been close to a second World 250 title on more than one occasion, in the 1998 season he looked sure to deliver. From round five onwards Harada had led team-mate Capirossi, going ahead by as much as 26 points after race ten. Then a non-finish in Australia gave the Italian a four point advantage as they went into the last event. Here, Capirossi contrived to knock his rival off in the final corner, to finish second and steal the title that would otherwise have been Harada’s. Tetsuya was left on 200 points and third in the table, Valentino Rossi gaining second, after winning five times for a tally of fourteen career victories

1999 Aprilia Grand Prix Racing, number 31 Aprilia
Staying with Aprilia, Harada moved up to the 500cc series for the first time. With five top five results, including third in France and Britain, he would finish a creditable tenth overall, with 104 points

2000 Blu Aprilia Team, number 31 Aprilia
In his second year at 500 level, Tetsuya managed to qualify his V-twin machine eighth twice and ninth once. Unfortunately, his results were not so encouraging, with a single ninth position as his best score. Overall, his 38 points amounted to only sixteenth position, and there followed a switch back to the 250 series

2001 MS Aprilia Racing, number 31 Aprilia
In his fifth year with Aprilia, Harada came up against Honda’s Daijiro Kato, who was almost unstoppable thanks to eleven race wins. Harada mounted the only real challenge but, despite eight pole positions, could only beat Kato on three occasions. An impressive 273 points - with three thirds, seven seconds, and wins at Mugello, Brno and Motegi - was still 49 behind his rival, and meant second in the overall table

2002 Pramac Honda Racing Team, number 31 Honda
With a four-stroke machine the thing to have, Tetsuya returned to the leading championship class on a 500cc two-stroke. Four grid slots ahead of the third row, including P3 at Donington (where he would run fifth), demonstrated his continued ability, but he was unable to sustain the same standard on race days. He managed a string of results in the last third of the points, but could not improve on tenth place. 47 points represented only seventeenth place and, with Biaggi signed to take over at Pramac, a tearful Harada announced his retirement

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