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Jul 27, 2013

Monster Energy Yamaha - YART Takes Pole Position In Modified Superpole Session At Suzuka 8 Hours

FIM Endurance World Championship/36th Cocla-Cola Zero Suzuka 8 Hours: Katsuyuki Nakasuga. Photo by, courtesy of FIM.
FIM Endurance World Championship
Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8 Hours
Suzuka Circuit, Japan
July 27, 2013

Superpole Qualifying Results:

1. Monster Energy Yamaha - YART (K. Nakasuga/B. Parkes/J. Waters), Yam YZF-R1, 2:06.817

2. Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team (T. Tsuda/N. Aoki/J. Brookes), 2:06.960

3. Musashi RT Harc-Pro (T. Takahashi/L. Haslam/M. VD Mark), Hon CBR1000RR, 2:07.260

4. F.C.C. TSR Honda (J. Rea/R.Kiyonari), Hon CBR1000RR, 2:07.302

5. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent (E. Nigon/J. Pridmore), BMW S1000RR, 2:07.368

6. Team Kagayama (Y. Kagayama/K. Schwantz/N. Haga), Suz GSX-R1000, 2:08.188

7. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (V. Philippe/A. Delhalle/J. Da Costa), Suz GSX-R1000, 2:08.491

8. Honda Team Asia (M. Tamada/A. Shah B. Kamaruzaman/Y. Takahashi), Hon CBR1000RR, 2:08.507

9. Toho Racing with Moriwaki (T. Yamaguchi/S. Ito/K. Watanabe), Hon CBR1000RR, 2:09.091

10. Yamaha France GMT94 Michelin Yamahalube (D. Checa/K. Foray/M. Lagrive), Yam YZF-R1, 2:09.275

More, from a press release issued by FIM Endurance Press Office:

Monster Energy Yamaha YART takes pole position at Suzuka ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team and Musashi RT Harc-Pro

Today’s programme at Suzuka was thrown off by a shower mid-day. Because of the condition of the track, the Top 10 Trial session was cancelled and replaced by an ordinary qualifying session for the top ten teams coming out of the timed practice on Friday. The proceedings were therefore more relaxed than for a Superpole which is played out with one flying lap, but there was no shortage of excitement. Takuya Tsuda for Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team kicked off with a lap in 2’06.960 but was trumped by Katsuyuki Nakasuga who beat his own 2012 Top 10 Trial record in 2’06.817.

There was a three-way battle for third place between the Honda of Musashi RT Harc-Pro, the FCC TSR Honda and BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent. It was Michael Van Der Mark, 20 years old and new to Suzuka, who clinched the third spot on the grid for the Musashi RT Harc-Pro with a lap in 2’07.260, ahead of the FCC TSR Honda (Jonathan Rea in 2’07.302) and the BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent (Erwan Nigon in 2’07.368).

The factory BMW is ahead of the Suzukis of Team Kagayama with Yukio Kagayama, Kevin Schwantz and Noriyuki Haga, and the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, the Honda Team Asia and the Toho Racing with Moriwaki. Put off its stride by a crash for Kenny Foray in the free practice, the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube will be starting the race tenth on the grid.

The start of this 36th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours will be given at 11 h 30 local time (GMT+9) tomorrow, Sunday, for a finish shortly after sunset.

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad France 99 Team Thevent:

Suzuka, Japan - 27 July 2013: The #99 BMW S1000RR will start tomorrow's Suzuka 8 Hours from the second row of the grid, after Frenchman Erwan Nigon and American Jason Pridmore beat a host of factory-supported Japanese teams during today's top ten trial to qualify the bike in fifth position.

It's been a tough week at Suzuka for BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent. Damian Cudlin sustained a fracture to his left tibia in a crash during FP2, forcing the Australian to withdraw from the race and head back to Europe for further treatment.

Cudlin's departure meant that Nigon and Pridmore, who was only drafted into the team at the last minute to replace the injured Sylvain Barrier, had to shoulder the responsibility for qualifying and racing the #99 BMW S1000RR alone.

Pridmore's performance, on a bike and tyres he had no previous experience of before arriving in Japan, has been impressive indeed. Together with seasoned BMW campaigner Nigon, the American qualified the #99 BMW S1000RR in seventh during normal qualifying, securing the team a place in today's top ten shootout.

The onset of rain shortly before the start of the shootout forced a change to the original format. Instead of one flying lap to decide grid positions as originally planned, the teams completed another 40-minute qualifying session, which BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent finished in fifth position.

The 36th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours, the biggest race on the Japanese calendar, gets underway at 11.30 hours local time tomorrow.

Erwan Nigon:
"I was sorry to see Damian injured, because he is always fast here at Suzuka. Hopefully he will recover quickly and we'll see him back at Oschersleben. I have been very surprised by Jason. It's the first time I've ridden with him and it's amazing how quickly he's adapted to our bike and tyres. In qualifying I had an incredible lap, which means we'll start from the second row of the grid; the highest starting position for me and for BMW here at Suzuka. We've made a big improvement here compared to 12 months ago and my feeling for the race is good. It will be tough tomorrow, but I hope we will be able to fight for a top five finish in the race. We will see, anyway."

Jason Pridmore:
"I guess you could say it's been a bit of a busy week for me. I got the call to come to Japan only on Monday morning and, in my head, I was coming here as the third rider. Then, unfortunately, Damian had a big crash and suddenly I'm in the race. It's devastating what happened to Damian and both Erwan and myself are keen to get a good result in the race for him. Erwan has carried us this far and he's been a big help all week, letting me look through his data and helping me to adapt to the bike and tyres. It's going to be a hard race for me, but I'm just going to do the best I can to help these guys to a good finish tomorrow."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Suzuka is always a tough race, but this year it's been tougher than ever before, especially for the riders. We lost Sylvain Barrier to injury ahead of the race and then Damian crashed heavily in free practice and broke his leg, leaving Erwan and Jason to race alone. Under the circumstances what they and the team have done so far this week is nothing short of amazing. Jason in particular has impressed me immensely. He had never ridden our bike and had no experience of our Michelin tyres before arriving in Japan but, with the support of the team, he adapted quickly and, together with Erwan, got the job done in qualifying. For a European brand like BMW, starting from the second row of the grid in the Japanese manufacturers' own backyard has a big value, but now we must look to add even more value with a good result in the race. As always, the competition will be fierce, but after the great job done by the team and riders so far in Suzuka, I'm confident we'll be up at the front and battling for a top ten finish in the race tomorrow."