The 2-time champion was beaten in a straight fight by Lawson in Saturday’s curtain-raiser, though Nojiri struck again with a simple win from pole within the second race.
Talking within the aftermath of ending second within the first race, Nojiri mentioned that Lawson’s sensational tempo was no shock, likening him to a different of his former team-mates Stoffel Vandoorne – with whom he shared a storage in 2016.
The 33-year-old confessed that he feared being defeated by Lawson could lead on observers to query the extent of the Japanese collection, and therefore his personal achievements.
“I knew he could be fast,” Nojiri informed reporters after the primary race.
“Stoffel [Vandoorne] was fast straight out of the blocks too and I believed Liam could be on the identical stage.
“Till now I believed it wasn’t possible that I’d be behind [a team-mate] typically, however I believed this 12 months could be tougher.
“If I lose this 12 months, I feel folks would begin to query the extent in Tremendous Formulation, so I feel I can’t afford to lose, though it’s fairly a giant burden, don’t you assume?”
Tomoki Nojiri, TEAM MUGEN
Photograph by: Masahide Kamio
Nojiri went into the Sunday Fuji race vowing to make enhancements to his automobile to mount a fightback, in a lot the identical approach he did in 2022 after shedding out to Ryo Hirakawa within the first race of the season.
Regardless of being handed for the lead by Toshiki Oyu, Nojiri was capable of get again forward in the course of the pitstop section, as an early security automobile interval prompted nearly the entire discipline to pit on the similar time.
Quicker pitwork from the Mugen crew put Nojiri into a lead he wouldn’t lose, though he did need to repel an assault from the TGM automobile of Oyu on the restart.
“Because the Japanese champion, I feel there would have been folks saying, ‘What have been you taking part in at shedding yesterday!’” Nojiri mentioned following his ninth profession Tremendous Formulation win. “However immediately we have been fast.
“I approached the race pondering that by some means I’ve to win, so it’s a reduction that we did. Contemplating my place as champion, and what the followers would assume, I knew that I couldn’t enable myself to be crushed so simply.
“I used to be feeling quite a lot of stress getting ready for immediately’s race, however I used to be capable of hold my focus.
“Qualifying was good, we ready a very good automobile for the race, and the pitwork was additionally top-notch. All through your entire day, everybody within the crew did a faultless job.”