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Jul 30, 2011

Yoshimura Suzuki Japan Wins "Top 10 Trial," Pole Position For Suzuka 8 Hours

Yukio Kagayama (12) on the Yoshimura Suzuki (Japan) GSX-R1000.
Yoshimura Suzuki in pole position and a great second place for Monster Yamaha YART

It was a warm applause for Yukio Kagayama during the press conference as he scored the best time during the Top 10 Trial this afternoon and placed the Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team on pole position for the Suzuka 8 Hours.

These past few years, the Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team has often dominated the Honda held playground. However, this year the surprise came from a European team, with the great performance. The Monster Yamaha YART will start the race from second place. The Austrian team has to be grateful to their Japanese Superbike rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga for his performance, also proving the competitive value of the team and their motorcycle. 'From now, we can't complain anymore that the bike isn't fast enough', said Igor Jerman with some humour, when greeting the performance of his Japanese teammate.

The Honda Musashi RT Harc Pro takes third place with Takumi Takahashi, who brought victory for the team at the 2010 edition. The great unlucky of this Top 10 Trial is then the Honda FCC TSR. Kosuke Akiyoshi was disturbed by the crash of the Kawasaki Eva RT Trickstar during his hot lap towards the end of the session. FCC TSR will start from fourth position ahead of the Honda Suzuka Racing Team.

Two other permanent teams were selected for the Top 10. In sixth place, Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone outclassed the BMW Motorrad France 99 with Matthieu Lagrive's performance. The Honda Crown Keibihosyou Racing and the Honda Dream RT Sakurai complete the top 10 ahead of the Kawasaki Eva RT Trickstar.

The start of the race is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30 am local time (GMT + 9). To save energy and light in a country that is still recovering from the severe recent earthquake, the start of the race has been moved one hour earlier for a day-time arrival at 6:30 pm.

To follow the practice and the race live, log on and

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

Yukio Kagayama has put the Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team on Pole for tomorrow's Suzuka World Endurance Championship third round in Japan after clocking-up a time of 2'08.001 in this afternoon's Top-10 Time Trial.

Kagayama and the GSX-R1000 have dominated throughout Free Practice and Qualifying along with team mates Josh Waters and Nobuatsu Aoki.

World Endurance Champions and current series leaders, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) did not qualify for the Top-10 Superpole and will start tomorrow's race from 15th position on the grid.

Surprise second place today went to the Monster Yamaha YART squad, who clocked a time of 2'08.025 ahead of Honda's Musashi RT HARC-Pro squad on 2'08.162.

The start of the race is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30 am local time (GMT + 9) - an hour earlier than originally scheduled - to save energy consumption in the country that is still recovering from the after-effects of the recent earthquake and tsunami.

Top 10 Trial Results: 1 Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 2'08.001, 2 Monster Yamaha YART (Yamaha) 2'08.025, 3 Musashi RT Harc PRO (Honda) 2'08.162, 4 FCC TSR Honda (Honda) 2'08.258, 5 Honda SuzukaRacing Team (Honda) 2'09.170, 6 Yamaha Racing France GMT94 iPhone (Yamaha) 2'09.409, 7 BMW Motorrad France 99 (BMW) 2'09.545, 8 Crown Keibihosyou Racing (Honda) 2'09.725, 9 Honda Dream RT Sakuria Honda (Honda) 2'10.300, 10 Eva RT Test Type-01 Trickstar FRTR (Kawasaki) 2'10.979. 15: SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 2'12.103.

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

Naoko Takasugi

A woman committed in racing at Suzuka

A large crowd of fans surrounded Naoko Takasugi during the pitwalk to wish her success for the race, as she is the only woman qualified for the Suzuka 8 Hours race. Sitting on her 'La Bellezza' Ducati 1198 R, with her team qualified in 44th position. Naoko shaked hands, signed autographs and posed for pictures with spectators of all ages. She totally assumed her status of motorcycle sport star in Japan, closely followed by the camera crews.

At 34 years old, this tiny woman has her eyes sparkling when she talks about her biggest dream. 'I want to race motorcycles outside Japan, especially in Europe and I'll give my best to do it'. Her dreams will certainly come true because Naoko is very committed.

Hard of hearing by birth, Naoko started riding motorcycles aged 16 and made her first race at 24, against her family's will. After learning racing in 50 cc, Naoko enter the ST 600 'West Japan' championship, racing Supersport motorcycles. In 2005, she finished the Suzuka 4 Hours, a race reserved to the ST 600, in fifth place. She moved upward in 2006, entering the 'All Japan' ST 600 Championship and then the GP 250, in which she finished 11th in 2009. Since 2010, she races the J-GP3 Japanese championship on a RS 125.

Naoko Takasugi has been already racing the famous Suzuka 8 Hours in 2010. She met Magali Langlois from France, the other woman who was racing Suzuka last year. Who knows if this association can lead to an all-feminine team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans or Bol d'Or?