Jul 29, 2011
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Josh Waters (12) on the Yoshimura Suzuki (Japan) GSX-R1000.
Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team fastest in qualification Honda FCC TSR second, Musashi RT Harc Pro third
Nobody could challenge Yukio Kagayama's 2'07.884 best lap time from the first Suzuka 8 Hours qualifying session. The Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team took then the best time in qualifications. However, the competition gets closer behind. With Kosuke Akiyoshi in 2'08.260, the Honda FCC TSR confirms their second place ahead of the Honda Musashi RT Harc Pro with a 2'08.927 lap time with Takumi Takahashi.
Behind the first three bikes on Bridgestone is the first machine on Michelin, the Monster Yamaha YART, keeping its fourth place with Katsuyuki Nakasuga in 2'09.045. During the second qualifying session, Gwen Giabbani suffered a serious, yet consequence-free, crash, on the official Austrian Yamaha.
Behind them are the Honda Suzuka RT and Crown Keibihosyou, ahead of the BMW Motorrad France 99. In charge of qualifying the official BMW, Erwan Nigon signed a best lap in 2'09.435. That puts them ahead of the Honda Dream Sakurai and the Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone. On the official French Yamaha, Matthieu Lagrive was also in charge of signing the best possible lap: mission accomplished in 2'10.429. The first Kawasaki, Eva RT Trickstar, completes the top 10, which will enter the "Top 10 Trial" tomorrow afternoon. This Superpole-like event is specific to the Japanese round: two riders from the best top-10 teams will go back on track for one hot lap, in order to reallocate the spots for the final starting grid.
A late entry and a lack of testing certainly explains the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team's counterperformance. Despite the support of the 2010 Suzuka poleman, Daisaku Sakai, the SERT stands in an unusual 15th place. They are still ahead of the Bolliger Team Switzerland. The Honda TT Legends riders, John McGuinness, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald, are in 20th position and are keeping the track apprenticeship.
To follow the practices and the race results, log on to and ~
More, from a press release issued by Toby Lynch/Fluid PR on behalf of the Australian Superbike Championship:
Waters leads Aussie contingent at Suzuka 8 Hour
For immediate release: 29 July 2011.
Josh Waters and the Yoshimura Suzuki Team have shown they have the speed to factor at the front of the field in this weekend's Suzuka 8 Hour race in Japan.
The 2009 Australian Superbike Champion looks to have found speed and a comfortable setup on the bike he shares with teammates Yukio Kagayama and Nobuatsu Aoki.
The trio turned in the fastest lap in practice yesterday despite a weather-interrupted schedule, their 2:10.336 lap just edging out two all-Japanese teams, including the 2010 winners, in second and third.
Today's on-track sessions saw further free practice followed by qualifying, where Waters finished his first of two sessions as the third-fastest rider.
Waters' 2011 campaign has seen him explore a number of opportunities abroad, and the experience in World and AMA Superbikes in both racing and testing capacities should serve him well as he tackles the renowned endurance race.
"I was third in my group with our biggest competitors being TSR Honda and RT Harc-Pro but we are overall fastest," said Waters.
"I still have one more session for today; because of the rain yesterday we are focusing on doing the laps. Either way we are still in the top ten and will be a part of the Top 10 Shootout tomorrow.
"It is a long track and it takes over 2 minutes to complete a lap over the 6 km distance. One of the main differences is there are so many riders. There are over 50 on track which I'm not used to but it makes for great experience.
"I am really lucky having two teammates that both race for Suzuki and have similar set up to me. They both have a lot of experience which I can definitely benefit from."
Wayne Maxwell and Jamie Stauffer are determined to make their mark as an all-Aussie team and got off to a solid start in spite of yesterday's tough conditions.
The Team Honda duo, running under the Honda Dream RT Sakurai Honda banner this weekend are making their way up the timesheets today after further refining the bike to a balance they both enjoy.
Placed 7th after the first qualifying session, Maxwell said the pair were eager to ensure a place in the top 10 with another solid run to end the day.
"We're getting there with the bike, we're 7th with a session to go and aiming to make the top 10 shootout tomorrow," said Maxwell.
"It's an amazing track and so different from anything in Australia but I find it suits my riding style. We've had some setup difficulties this weekend but we're learning more about the bike each time we head out onto the track and are confident we'll be ready for the race."
Stauffer said the atmosphere made Suzuka a favourite place to race.
"The track is fantastic and it's an awesome atmosphere," he said. "It's great to be here with a few familiar faces too. Wayne is doing a great job and we're focused on chasing down Josh who's riding well a bit further up the timesheets.
"The heat hasn't hit me too hard, it was certainly hotter when we were here for testing and we were prepared for the conditions to be a lot tougher."
Tomorrow will see riders on track for another free practice session followed by the Top 10 Shootout later in the afternoon.
The Suzuka 8 Hour will begin at 10.30am local time and run through to 6.30pm, with organisers moving the start forward 1 hour to assist in the reduction of local energy supplies in the wake of the recent natural disasters in Japan.
More, from a press release issued by Honda TT Legends:
Honda TT Legends qualify in the top 20 for Suzuka 8-hour
The Honda TT Legends team completed its second day on track at the Suzuka 8-hour event by qualifying in 20th place. John McGuinness, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald took part in two 30-minute timed practice sessions each as temperatures at the legendary Japanese circuit reached over 33 degrees.
The road racing experts shaved valuable seconds off their lap times and managed to hold their own in a field of Suzuka veterans and specialist Japanese teams. After all three riders posted 2'14 laps in the first session, McGuinness ended his second stint by securing the first 2'13 lap for the team. Donald was the last of the Honda TT Legends to head out and his impressive session resulted in the team's best lap of the day 2'13.961.
In accordance with Suzuka 8-hour rules, the fastest lap time posted by each team dictates the grid positions. The top ten teams will take part in a superpole session tomorrow afternoon, while the remainder of the field will be allowed track time for free practice. This will provide the Honda TT Legends the chance to further improve their knowledge of the circuit before a decision is made on the final rider line-up for Sunday's race.
The team has done an excellent job today I said if we got in the top 25 we'd be doing well and if we were in the top 20 we'd be doing brilliantly. None of the riders knew the track, yet they have all qualified well and their lap times are actually very similar Cam and John were just slightly quicker than Keith. It's a good pace round here when you don't know the track very well so we are really pleased and I think we are in a good position for the race on Sunday. We will make a decision late Saturday afternoon as to our rider strategy for the race, but for now we are happy.
I think 20th is a realistic position. As a rider you want more all the time but considering we hadn't been on a bike round here until yesterday, we've done ok. A lot of people I've spoken to here have said that you can't learn the track in a day and they are probably right! Anything can happen and we just need to put in eight consistent hours between us. We're all on a similar pace within half a second of each other so if we can stay consistent there's no reason why we can't get in the points and that's what we're looking for really.
I've started to enjoy it now. I'm happy with the fact that I know roughly where I'm going now and that has helped a lot. It's still difficult and every single lap we're out there I'm learning where not to go and where to go. Tomorrow we'll get a little bit more free practice in, do a bit more work with the bike and you never know, we might improve a bit more.
Today's been great. We've continued to learn the track each time we've gone out and I tried a bit of race replication with the tyre in the last session, putting a lot of laps in and it was really interesting. It was hot and it was slippery but it was good fun. I did my personal best lap time that turned out to be the best lap for the team. I walked in here this morning hoping to end in the top 20 so I'm happy.
The Suzuka 8-hour race will take place on Sunday 31 July, starting at 10.30am Japan Standard Time, 02.30am British Summer Time and 03.30am Central European Summer Time. For real-time news, videos and images throughout the event follow @HondaTTLegends on Twitter and for post-race reports visit
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:
Yoshimura Suzuki Racing's Yukio Kagayama put in the only sub-2.08-minute lap during today's Suzuka world Endurance Qualifying sessions in Japan, putting the GSX-R1000-mounted team at the top of the timesheets.
Kagayama clocked a lap of 2'07.884 in the first of three sessions, to beat Honda FCC TSR's Kosuke Akiyoshi on 2'08.260 and Honda-mounted Musashi RT Harc Pro's Makoto Tamada with 2'08.962.
Kagayama's team mate Josh Waters finished third in his session with a time of 2'10.024 and third Yoshimura rider Nobuatsu Aoki claimed fifth in session 3 with a lap of 2'11.388.
Thanks to their Japanese rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Monster Yamaha YART was the best of the World Endurance Championship permanent teams with fourth place and a lap-time of 2'09.045 lap.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team's Vincent Philippe posted 15th in session 1 with a 2'12.995 lap, Anthony Delhalle 13th in session 2 on 2'13.902 and Daisaku Sakai 6th in session 3 with a lap of 2'12.612. The World Champions' combined position is 14th.
The Suzuka 8 Hours is the only round on the Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship calendar that incorporates special regulations: The best individual lap time determinates the starting grid - and not the average time from the teams' riders, as with other rounds of the series.
Suzuka also has a "Top 10 Trial" - a Superpole-style head-to-head session - where the two best riders from the best 10 teams go back on track to race for the final starting grid. The Top 10 Trial is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 15.30 and Sunday's third-round World Championship Suzuka 8 Hour race begins at 10:30 am local time (GMT + 9).