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Jul 12, 2018

World Endurance: Yamaha Factory Racing Team Fastest During Official Three-Day Test At Suzuka

Alex Lowes (21) riding the Yamaha Factory Racing Team YZF-R1 at an official three-day test at Suzuka. Photo courtesy of Yamaha Racing.

41st Coca-Cola Suzuka 8-Hours Endurance Race Open Test

FIM Endurance World Championship

Suzuka Circuit, Japan

July 10-12, 2018

Best Overall Lap Times:

1. Yamaha Factory Racing Team (Katsuyuki Nakasuga/Alex Lowes/Michael van der Mark), Yam YZF-R1, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:06.273

2. Kawasaki Team Green (Kazuma Watanabe/Leon Haslam/Jonathan Rea), Kaw ZX-10R, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:06.838

3. Red Bull Honda With Japan Post (Takumi Takahashi/Takaaki Nakagami/Leon Camier), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:07.500

4. Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing (Sylvain Guintoli/Takuya Tsuda/Bradley Ray), Suz GSX-R1000, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:07.838

5. Honda Suzuka Racing Team (Dajiro Hiura/Yudai Kamei/Takashi Yasuda), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:07.924

6. S-Pulse Dream Racing - IAI (Hideyuki Ogata/Tommy Bridewell/Kazuki Watanabe), Suz GSX-R1000, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:07.976

7. YART - Yamaha (Broc Parkes/Marvin Fritz/Takuya Fujita), Yam YZF-R1, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:08.005

8. MuSashi RT Harc-Pro Honda (Ryo Mizuno/Dominique Aegerter/PJ Jacobsen), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:08.070

9. au-Teluru MotoUP Racing Team (Kosuke Akiyoshi/Tetsuta Nagashima/Isaac Vinales), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:08.179

10. Team Kagayama USA (Yukio Kagayama/Naomichi Uramoto/Joe Roberts), Suz GSX-R1000, SBK, Dunlop, 2:08.562

11. KYB Moriwaki Motul Racing (Ryuichi Kiyonari/Yuki Takahashi/Dan Linfoot), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, Pirelli, 2:09.179

12. F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Freddy Foray/Josh Hook/Alan Techer), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, Bridgestone, 2:09.186

13. Honda Asia Dream Racing (Mohammad Zaqhwan Zaidi/Troy Herfoss/Andi Farid Izdihar), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, 2:09.205

14. GMT94 Yamaha (Mike Di Meglio/Niccolo Canepa/David Checa), Yam YZF-R1, SBK, Dunlop, 2:09.315

15. BMW Financial Services 135 (Shinya Takeishi/Michael Laverty/Christian Iddon), BMW S1000RR, SBK, 2:09.404

16. Tone RT SYNCEDGE 4413 (Tomoya Hoshino/Kokoro Atsumi/Soushi Mihara), BMW S1000RR, STK, 2:09.607

17. NCXX RACING & ZENKOUKAI (Toshiki Kunimatsu/Ryusei Matsumoto/TBD), Yam YZF-R1, STK, 2:09.678

18. Team SuP Dream Honda (Tatsuya Yamaguchi/Ryosuke Iwato/Kosuke Sakumoto), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, 2:09.696

19. BMW Motorrad 39 (Daisaku Sakai/Damian Cudlin/Alex Cudlin), BMW S1000RR, SBK, 2:09.722

20. EVA RT Webike TRICKSTAR (Anthony West/Osamu Deguichi/TBD), Kaw ZX-10R, 2:09.978

22. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe/Etienne Masson/Gregg Black), Suz GSX-R1000, SBK, Dunlop, 2:10.581

28. ARMY GIRL TEAM MF & Kawasaki (Kyosuke Okuda/Andrew Lee/Hikari Okubu), Kaw ZX-10R, STK, 2:11.691

More, from a press release issued by EuroSport Events/FIM Endurance World Championship:


Following the three-day official test in Japan, a hierarchy is emerging for the Suzuka 8 Hours race on 29 July. Yamaha Factory Racing Team, the winner of the past three editions, has consolidated its status as the favourite, but will likely face stiff competition from Kawasaki Team Green and Honda HRC.

The highlight of the 2018 Suzuka 8 Hours official tests has been the sterling performance of Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark and the Japanese rider’s 2:06.273 lap. Katsuyuki Nakasuga broke current teammate Alex Lowes’s record for the fastest lap set in the race last year and is already seeking to smash former teammate Pol Espargaró’s 2015 lap record (2:06.000) in qualifying during the Top 10 Trial.

The second day of tests yesterday provided the most excitement, with the Japanese factory teams waging a war of nerves to clock the fastest lap time. Yamaha Factory Racing Team consolidated its position as leader. The fastest counter-strike (2:06.838) came from Kawasaki Team Green’s Kazuma Watanabe, Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea, ahead of Honda HRC (2:07.500). Honda’s factory team will have to make do without Leon Camier. Following his crash during testing, a medical examination has revealed that the British rider has sustained back injuries. HRC will have to find a new teammate for Takumi Takahashi and Takaaki Nakagami.

Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing (Sylvain Guintoli, Takuya Tsuda and Bradley Ray) found itself among the foursome in the lead after posting a 2:07.838 best lap, ahead of Suzuka regulars Honda Suzuka Racing Team and S-Pulse Dream Racing (Suzuki).

YART Yamaha is leading the other FIM EWC full-season teams, and significantly upped performance on the third day of tests. Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Takuya Fujita set a 2:08.005 quickest lap today. The Austrian team was 7th-quickest of the teams on track in testing, ahead of strong Japanese contender Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda’s 2:08.070 best lap.

F.C.C. TSR Honda France were also quicker today with a 2:09.186, ahead of GMT94 Yamaha (2:09.315) and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (2:10.581).

Meanwhile, manufacturer Bridgestone dominated proceedings at the Suzuka tests. All nine teams on the top of the timesheets are using Bridgestone tyres. Team Kagayama was the quickest Dunlop-shod team with a 2:08.562, while KYB Moriwaki Motul Racing posted the fastest lap of the Pirelli-shod teams.

The 64 teams competing in the 41st Suzuka 8 Hours will be back on the track for free practice on Thursday 26 July.

Suzuka 8 Hours - Official Tests results 10-11-12 July 2018

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Team Green On The Pace In Final 8-Hour Testing

The official Team Green entry for the 41st running of the classic Coca-Cola Suzuka 8-Hours World Endurance Championship race, comprising Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Kazuma Watanabe, took the second best time on their Ninja ZX-10RR at the end of the final official test session before the race itself later this month.

In a gruelling three day test against all their numerous rivals Team Green’s new look line-up, drawn from WorldSBK (Rea), BSB (Haslam) and JSB (Watanabe) headed off many more experienced teams. The official Kawasaki Motors Japan squad put in a strong showing at a critical time in the build up to race weekend itself, with just over two weeks to go before the action gets underway for real.

Leon had flown in to Suzuka direct from a win at the Knockhill round of the British Superbike Championship in Scotland, while Jonathan Rea had a similar travel experience after winning both races in the WorldSBK round at Misano in Italy.

In all, eight Kawasaki mounted teams have entered the Coca-Cola Suzuka 8-Hour race this year.

The wonderfully varied 5.182km long Suzuka circuit, built in 1962, hosted its first 8-Hour race in 1978. Kawasaki has won the event once before, in 1993, with WorldSBK Champion Scot Russell and fellow WorldSBK Superstar Aaron Slight.

The 2018 edition of the Suzuka 8-Hour race itself will take place on the weekend of the 27th to the 29th of July, and will be the climax of the overall FIM World Endurance Championship season.

The race starts in daylight and is completed in the darkness, adding another theatrical element to one of the single most important races of the year for riders and especially for manufacturers.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “The test is really positive – as this was my first test with Team Green Japan it was important to see the bike set up that Leon and Kazuma were working on. A really good sign is that I jumped on and with only a few tweaks l was up to speed. I basically worked on re-learning the track – it’s been four years since I’ve been here. Also I am learning about the Ninja ZX-10RR Suzuka endurance spec machine. I’ve ridden six of the last seven days, so it’s still fun but also hard work. The bike is working in a good window and we are competitive in all temperatures. The bike is very agile and good in traffic. At the final part of day three we did a race simulation and we had a lot of positive input. To be honest, all three of us in the team have been fast so that’s a good sign. All members of the team have been welcoming and I am looking forward to coming back for the race and doing the best we can.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “We’ve done three days of testing – the last test before the Suzuka race. It’s gone really well. I’ve done quite a lot of testing this year and it was great to have Jonathan Rea to join this final session. The pace is good and the team is positive and we are making progress with the bike. My race simulation laps are really consistent. We finished second the last two years and hopefully with the steps and improvements we have made we can climb to the top of the podium on 2018. In have another BSB race in the UK coming up then we are back to Japan for the race. I am looking forward to giving some good news after the race itself.”

Kazuma Watanabe, stated: “This is the first time for Team Green to welcome Jonathan at a Suzuka test. To my great surprise, after hard Misano race and long haul flight from Europe, he has joined the test from the very first session with good lap time. Leon, being direct from his BSB race was also fast. These guys are charged with big amount of energy! They have long been friends, which helps make the team atmosphere in the best condition looking toward the race. The impact of these guys pushes me work hard to make better lap time by studying the logger data thoroughly and carefully. You will see a new Kazuma at the race.”