SUZUKI TEAMS FIRED-UP FOR SUZUKA 8-HOUR
Team Suzuki Press Office – July 23.
Suzuki’s strongest-ever GSX-R1000-mounted line-up of race teams are ready and fired-up for this weekend’s 36th Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8-Hour World Endurance Championship second round in Japan that includes current World Champions, a former 500cc Grand Prix World Champion, World Superbike Championship race winners, a long-time Suzuki MotoGP test rider; and also Suzuka-8-Hour race winners.
Reigning World Endurance Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) – who this year chases its 13th title for Suzuki – start the race in third-place in the points standings after a dramatic recovery from a crash at the opening round at Magny-Cours in France on April 21st. SERT’s three-man team of Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Julien Da Costa will be hoping to improve upon their lowly 15th at Suzuka in 2012 following a heavy crash in the closing stages; and also move-up the current series standings.
Yoshimura Factory Racing Suzuki – four-time race winners at Suzuka and the only team to have taken part in every single Suzuka 8-Hour race since its inception in 1978 – has this year put together another super-strong star-studded line-up that comprises Suzuki MotoGP Test Rider Nobuatsu Aoki, former Australian Champion and top British Superbike contender Josh Brookes, plus All Japan Superbike racer – and 2013 SERT stand-in rider – Takuya Tsuda in the squad that is managed by Yoshimura founder; Pops Yoshimura’s grandson Yohei Kato.
Brookes, who stormed to victory at last weekend’s Brands Hatch British Superbike round aboard his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000, said: “After getting my first BSB race win of the season at Brands Hatch last weekend with the Tyco Suzuki guys, I’m really fired-up and looking forward to racing at Suzuka this coming weekend. The test at Suzuka a fortnight ago gave me a good insight to what we need to achieve with the Yoshimura Suzuki team if we are to be in with a chance of a podium. It’s a prestigious event and an honour to be representing Suzuki and Yoshimura, so hopefully I can bring home some great memories and also some silverware.”
But possibly the most talked-about and anticipated team on the grid is Yukio Kagayama’s ‘Team Kagayama’ Suzuki team of 1993 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwantz, Kagayama’s long-time WSB and All Japan Superbike adversary and friend Noriyuki Haga, plus Kagayama; himself a former Suzuki MotoGP, WSB and BSB contender.
Said 48-year-old Schwantz, who is still super-fit and fast: “I’m looking forward to racing the Suzuka 8-Hour with Noriyuki and Yukio on a Suzuki GSX-R1000. Suzuka holds a special place in my heart because that is where I won my first 500cc Grand Prix in 1988. The last time I raced the 8-Hour was in 1992 with Doug Chandler and we did not finish due to mechanical issues. With only two riders, it used to be a really, really physical race and now with three riders, it is still going to be tough but not quite as much. I’ve never won the 8-Hour and with team-mates as strong as Yukio and Nori, along with our Dunlop tyres, I think we stand a good chance.”
A total of 63 teams have entered Japan’s most-prestigious motorcycle race on the calendar, and which attracts crowds upwards of 80,000 – the record being an attendance of 160,000 in 1990 – and this weekend looks like breaking all recent records.
As well as the permanent World Endurance Championship teams entered, including Monster Energy YART (Katsuyuki Nakasuga/ Broc Parkes/ Josh Waters), Yamaha France GMT 94 (David Checa/ Kenny Foray/ Matthieu Lagrive) and Team R2CL Suzuki (Dylan Buisson/ Masahiro Shinjo/ Gwen Giabbani), the main competition will, as always, come from Japan’s finest and fastest Manufacturer-supported and privateer teams; all ready to prove themselves at home in the hot and humid conditions that are experienced at Suzuka.
A total of 13 Suzuki GSX-R1000-mounted teams have entered, 10 of which are from Japan, including the oldest rider in the race; Kazuhiro Kanayama, aged 60, who is riding for the #4 Team Hashimotogumi Suzuki Team.
The Event will also be broadcast live in various countries and delayed in others, but the latest information from USTREAM is below.
USTREAM LIVE BROADCAST SCHEDULE (GMT+9) :
July 25th (Thursday)
13:30-14:30 [8hour] Free Practice 1
14:45-15:25 [4hour] Free Practice 1
15:40-16:40 [8hour] Free Practice 2
July 26th (Friday)
09:00-10:00 [8hour] Free Practice 3
10:15-10:45 [4hour] Free Practice 2
11:00-11:30 [8hour] Qualification 1: 1st Rider
11:45-12:15 [8hour] Qualification 1: 2nd Rider
12:30-13:00 [8hour] Qualification 1: 3rd Rider
13:15-13:45 [4hour] Qualification: 2nd Rider
15:15-15:45 [8hour] Qualification 2: 1st Rider
16:00-16:30 [8hour] Qualification 2: 2nd Rider
16:45-17:15 [8hour] Qualification 2: 3rd Rider
17:30-18:00 [4hour] Qualification: 1st Rider
18:15-19:30 [8hour] Free Practice 4: Night Practice
July 27th (Saturday)
09:00-13:00 [4hour] Race
14:15-15:00 [8hour] Free Practice 5
15:30-16:45 [8hour] Top 10 Trial
18:45-21:00 [8hour] Pre-Final Event