Amazingly not originally planned on MP9 designer Yuuichi Kanai’s marathon testing schedule, the Japanese designer/racer completed a last minute entry for the Nitrofest race last weekend in Charlotte N.C. USA where he arrived after flying over from Italy where he had raced the promotional Sirio Cup the previous week.
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With Kanai running the only MP9 chassis, and the pre-production kits not yet available to factory drivers, Kyosho (America) only sent a limited team composed of Mark Pavidis, Gil Losi Jr. and Tyler Vik, mainly to test the new AKA tires and foam on their ageing triple sevens. With the likes of Miguel Matias, Jerome Aigoin, Linus Thern, Ryan Lutz, Cody King and Taylor Peterson absent, higher finals peppered with Kyosho’s seemed unlikely.

Nonetheless Pavidis made his way to both the Nitrofest & Pre-world race Amains, whilst Kanai couldn’t quite match the pace of the frontrunners and didn’t make the cut.
After racing his 777 to 9th place in the Nitrofest race, Pavidis asked Kanai to race the MP9 instead of his 777 for the main event; the 60 minute Pre-World A-main. Good things happen to those who wait…

Kanai agreed to let Pavidis race the MP9. With only 20min before the start of the race, Kanai bolted Pavidis’ OS engine onto the MP9 chassis and Mark adjusted the steering and throttle servos. This being pretty easy as both racers use Futaba radios and servos. However, Mark had to switch to Kanai’s 2.4Ghz system instead of crytals that he had been using all week long…

With only the warm up lap to get a feeling of the car, Pavidis was unlikely to compete with the likes of Tebo and Taylor James and raced the MP9 like it was an hour-long testing session, Mark was plagued with 2.4ghz radio problems which began after 15min hampering his chances at a decent result.

At the end of the race, Pavidis said that although Kanai’s setup was not suited to his driving style, the MP9 was promising and he hopes to get his very own car really soon to start testing and get ready for the Worlds.

Looking back at the Kyosho history books, in particular ahead of the 2004 worlds in Sweden, Kyosho brought out the 777 a few months before the worlds. It seems history repeats itself with the MP9, however in 2004, Kanai had already tested the 777 on the Worlds track 3-4 months before the worlds, and Kyosho team drivers had received the new 777 more than 2 months before the Worlds in August. This time around the first test of the MP9 at the Farm 2 was last week, just less than 2 months before the main event, and team drivers have yet to receive any new cars. Is there enough time for Kyosho’s drivers to develop, setup and learn to drive the new car before September? In 2004 Kyosho lost the worlds after a 10 year winning streak, the question remains will the MP9 be the saviour or is it too little too late?