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. 


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 


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