Eupen, Belgium – 23 July 2013: BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent head to Japan determined to get their 2013 Endurance World Championship campaign back on track, with a strong result in this weekend’s Suzuka 8 Hours race. Damian Cudlin and Erwan Nigon will be reunited aboard the #99 BMW S1000RR at Suzuka, with American Jason Pridmore joining them as a late replacement for the injured Sylvain Barrier. The 2013 Endurance World Championship season has been a difficult one so far for BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent. A big crash six hours into the Bol d’Or, the opening round of the 2013 season, saw the team depart France with no points, after significant damage to the #99 BMW S1000RR forced their retirement from the race. The run up to the Suzuka 8 Hours race hasn’t been without incident for the team either. Sylvain Barrier was forced to withdraw from the race just days before travelling to Japan, as a result of injuries sustained during a two-day test at Suzuka earlier this month. Confidence, however, remains high, as both Cudlin and Nigon were consistently fast during the Suzuka test, which saw the team running in wet, dry and mixed conditions over the course of the two days. Both riders are confident that a top five finish is a realistic goal this weekend. For Pridmore Suzuka will be something of a baptism of fire. The American has previous experience on the bike, having won the FIM World Endurance Superstock Cup aboard a BMW S1000RR in 2012, but he will need time to adapt to the Michelin tyres, one of the team’s biggest advantages for the race, having never raced on them before. The Suzuka 8 Hours, which remains the most important motorcycle race on the Japanese sporting calendar, will be contested this year by 63 teams. Victory at Suzuka is a priority for all four Japanese manufacturers, who will once again field full factory machines and a very strong international rider line-up. Designed by Dutchman, John Hugenholtz, and built in 1962, Suzuka was the first circuit in Japan to exceed international standards and is one of the very few major racetracks to feature a figure of eight layout, with the back straight passing over the front of the track. The circuit has hosted both Formula 1 and MotoGP but is perhaps best known for the Suzuka 8 Hours, with this year being the 36th edition of this prestigious endurance race. Damian Cudlin: “Suzuka is one of my favourite events of the year and I’m really looking forward to racing there with BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent for a third successive year. We’ve been very competitive over the past 2 years, and considering how our testing went at Suzuka just two weeks ago, I’m sure we can achieve a good result this year. The podium is definitely my target, and I know the rest of the team are behind me on that one. Hopefully this year is our year!” Jason Pridmore: “After spending all weekend at the Laguna Seca Grand Prix, I woke up on Monday morning to discover I was off to race for BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent in the Suzuka 8 Hours this weekend, which was a bit of a welcome surprise! I love the Suzuka circuit and I can’t wait ride BMW S1000RR there. I am under no illusions as to how tough it’s going to be for me, but I will do the best I can for the team and I know Damian and Erwan will be on hand to help me get up to speed as quickly as possible. I’d like to say thank you to BMW Motorrad France for this opportunity and I wish Sylvain Barrier a speedy recovery from his injuries.” Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal “The team head to this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours determined to claim the podium finish that would have been ours last season but for an electrical problem in the final hour of the race and I’m confident that this is a realistic goal. The Japanese teams, with their full-factory bikes and World Championship rider line-ups, will be as fast as ever, but anything can happen in an eight-hour race, where our experience counts for a lot. Both Damian and Erwan were quick in all conditions during the recent test at Suzuka, so we know we have the pace to run at the front. It is unfortunate that Sylvain is unable to race due to injuries, especially as we only discovered this a few days before the team was due to fly to Japan. At such short notice, and with no time to test the BMW S1000RR or the Michelin tyres, we knew that taking an experienced rider was the only option open to us. Which is why I’m glad to welcome Jason to the team. He’s one of the most experienced riders in the EWC paddock and I know he’ll do a good job for us this weekend.” More, from a press release issued by FIM Endurance Press Office: The Endurance world gears up for the Suzuka 8 Hours 63 crews will line up in Japan on 28 July The 36th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours, second round of the FIM Endurance World Championship, will certainly live up to its reputation as an exceptional event. Every year, this race attracts not only the world’s best teams but also the best international riders. At the end of July, alongside the best of the Japanese two-wheel warriors, we shall be able to admire performances on the track by 1993 FIM World 500cc Champion Kevin Schwantz, now 48 years old, Josh Hook, just 20 years old and a rising star in the Australian Superbike firmament, and the promising world Supersport rider from the Netherlands Michael van der Mark. Kevin Schwantz is familiar with Suzuka as he took part in the event six times between 1985 and 1992, with his best result a second place. He will be riding the Suzuki of Team Kagayama with Yukio Kagayama, former mainstay of the Team Yoshimura Suzuki, and Noriyuki Haga. Josh Hook will be teaming up with fellow Australian Jamie Stauffer on the Honda Dream RT Sakurai, which regularly fights it out at the front of the race. Michael van der Mark will be taking turns with Takumi Takahashi and Leon Haslam on the powerful Honda of Musashi RT Harc-Pro. These crews will be in the limelight along with the many favourites tipped to win. The FCC TSR Honda will top the list with two consecutive wins at the Suzuka 8 Hours. The Honda #11 will be put through its paces by Jonathan Rea and Ryuichi Kiyonari, as Kosuke Akiyoshi is out of action with a broken leg. Also wearing the Honda colours, the Toho Racing with Moriwaki, 2nd in the 2012 edition, will be one to watch with Tatsuya Yamaguchi, this time teamed up with Shinichi Ito, a safe pair of hands in their bid for a Suzuka podium. The Honda armada will be facing its toughest opposition from the Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team. Forced to drop out last year, the 2009 winner regularly takes the fight to the frontrunners and will be chasing the 2013 winner’s spot with Takuya Tsuda, Joshua Brookes and Nobuatsu Aoki. The leading Kawasaki of Eva RT Trick Star with Tamaki Serizawa, Osamu Deguchi and Hitoyasu Izutsu will also be a strong contender this year. The nine permanent teams lining up in Suzuka at the end of July will therefore have a fight on their hands, but the podium is within reach, as proved last year by the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube with a superb third place. They are back this year with David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive. We can also expect good performances from the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team with Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Julien Da Costa, the Monster Energy Yamaha YART with Katsuyuki Nakasuga (pole position in 2012) back to support Broc Parkes and Joshua Waters, and also the BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent (Sylvain Barrier, Damian Cudlin and Erwan Nigon) and, last but not least, the Honda TT Legends (Simon Andrews, Michael Rutter and John McGuinness) who will be trying to make up ground after a difficult Bol d’Or. As in 2012, Bolliger Team Switzerland (Kawasaki), Team R2CL (Suzuki) and Flembbo Leader Team (Kawasaki) will be riding in Japan this July while Motobox Kremer by Shell Advance (Suzuki) is making its Suzuka début. More, from a press release issued by Honda TT Legends: Honda TT Legends on the hunt for points in Japan Following a successful outing at the Isle of Man TT, the Honda TT Legends team will return to the Endurance World Championship this week for one of the toughest races of the year – the Suzuka 8 Hours in Japan. Fresh from securing his 20th TT victory, John McGuinness will step up to the challenge for the third year in a row and will be joined by Suzuka first-timers Michael Rutter and Simon Andrews. The three-strong squad will be pitted against a vast field of teams, including its regular EWC rivals and a host of specialist Japanese outfits. The main aim for the riders and the super-slick Honda TT Legends crew will be claiming all-important championship points as they battle the extreme heat and humidity at the notoriously difficult Honda-owned circuit. Following three days of free practice and qualifying, the Suzuka 8 Hours race will begin at 11.30am Japanese Standard Time on Sunday 28 July. Neil Tuxworth – team manager The Isle of Man TT couldn’t have gone better for us as a team so we’re in good spirits as we return to the Endurance World Championship and one of the hardest races of the year, the Suzuka 8 Hours. This is John’s third year at Suzuka so it’s far less daunting for him now and with a bit of track familiarisation, he should be ready to go. Simon and Michael will have some work to do to learn the circuit and get accustomed to the heat and humidity, but I’m confident that we can achieve a good result and score some championship points. John McGuinness This is my third year at Suzuka so I know what to expect and I’m looking forward to it. It’s an iconic circuit and the Japanese fans are great – we always get a really good welcome and it’s brilliant to meet TT fans so far from home. We finished in the top ten last year and it would be good to do that again, but the main aim is to get some points and get our EWC season started. It will be tough without a doubt – it’s hot, it’s humid and we’re up against Suzuka experts who know the place like the back of their hand, but if we can bring the bike home in a respectable position it’ll be a job well done. Simon Andrews Suzuka is a very historic circuit and it’s on my list of things to do so I’m really pleased to get the opportunity to go, especially after missing it last year. I’m really looking forward to racing alongside the likes of Kevin Schwantz and Jonathan Rea and riding at a new track will be a good experience. It will be good to be back with the EWC team and on the endurance machine and our main aim as a team will be scoring points in the championship. I’ve never been to Japan before so the trip is pretty exciting and I can’t wait to see what it brings. Michael Rutter I’m looking forward to Suzuka as it’s one of those iconic races that everyone would like to do at least once. Endurance racing is still new to me and I’ve never been to Japan before so the whole experience will be a bit of an eye-opener. I’m hoping I can get the hang of the track pretty quickly and we can score some decent points for the championship effort. For news and information: Follow @HondaTTLegends on Twitter Visit www.HondaTTLegends.com Subscribe to www.youtube.com/HondaRacingEurope Suzuka 8hours schedule: Thursday 25 July 13.30 Free Practice 15.40 Free Practice Friday 26 July 9.00 Free Practice 11.00 -13.00 First Qualifying 15.15-17.15 Second Qualifying 18.15 – 9.15 Night Practice Saturday 27 July 14.15-15.00 Free Practice Sunday 28 July 8.30-9.15 Warm-up 11.30-19.30 Suzuka 8hours More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone: Bridgestone previews the 2013 Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race Tuesday, 23 July 2013 Round two of the 2013 FIM Endurance World Championship Series, the Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka Eight Hours Endurance Road Race takes place this weekend and Bridgestone will be chasing a record-breaking eighth consecutive victory at this prestigious event. Since 2006 Bridgestone has supported the winning team at Suzuka, with its record of seven consecutive wins at this race being unmatched. Taking place at the legendary Suzuka Circuit this year marks the 36th edition of this revered road race and Bridgestone will support a total of nine teams including F.C.C. TSR Honda (J.Rea, R.Kiyonari), Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team (K.Tsuda, N.Aoki, J.Brookes), MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda (T.Takasahi, L.Haslam, M. Van Der Mark) and TOHO Racing with MORIWAKI (T.Yamaguchi, S. Itoh, K.Watanabe) Last year the F.C.C.TSR Honda outfit of Jonathan Rea, Kosuke Akiyoshi and Tadayuki Okada won the race on Bridgestone tyres after starting fourth on the grid, while another Bridgestone-supported team TOHO Racing with MORIWAKI claimed second place. The F.C.C. TSR Honda team won the race after working their way through the front-runners in the middle phase of the race and maintaining a strong, consistent pace to complete 215 laps in eight hours. F.C.C.TSR Honda has won two successive victories at the Suzuka 8hours with Bridgestone. In the Suzuka 8hours, tyres are one of the key factors in the performance of the teams and the Endurance World Championship is one of the few remaining road racing series where multiple tyre manufacturers go head-to-head in competition. The teams supported by Bridgestone benefit from the Japanese tyre manufacturer’s years of MotoGP™ experience and proven track-record at developing tyres with superior performance, safety and durability. The Suzuka 8hours is held in July during the hot summer season in Japan, so track temperatures are usually high. In 2012, the high ambient temperatures of 30-32°C resulted in track temperatures ranging from 38-56? during the race. In such severe conditions it is necessary for the tyres to be stable, durable and provide consistent performance. The winning team at the Suzuka 8hours usually completes about 215~217laps in dry conditions and in this time will use eight sets of tyres. Each stint is about an hour in duration, meaning one set of tyres will complete approximately 26~27 laps (151.3~157.2Km), so good tyre durability is a necessity. Suzuka is a high speed circuit; last year’s winner F.C.C. TSR Honda completed the 215 laps at an average speed of 155.92 km/h. This average speed includes the time taken for pit stops, so the tyres must be durable and also offer high performance throughout their life. Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department “We have seen many wonderful races at Suzuka 8hours over the years and I am proud of the fact that Bridgestone has won the last seven races here and that once again we are supporting so many top teams at this event. Despite our past success we will not rest on our laurels and will be giving everything to try and achieve an eighth consecutive victory. The Suzuka 8hours is a rarity in road-racing at the moment as different tyre manufacturers get to compete on the track and this is just one element that gives endurance racing such a high appeal, and our success has come through winning many tough races. Bridgestone will have an attractive promotional booth at the Suzuka vending zone this weekend as the 8hours is a big event on the calendar for our domestic Japanese market.” Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department “The main feature of the Suzuka 8hours is the riders have to complete long distances at a fast average speed on a track with high track temperatures. This means the main focus of our tyre development for this race is to produce tyres that provide consistent grip and durability. The out lap after each stint is also one of the key points to scoring a good result as the riders need to push at one-hundred percent as soon as they pit out, so excellent warm-up performance is also very important. For these reasons the Suzuka 8hours is quite a challenging race for us, but we are proud to have supported the winning team for the last seven years. It proves that we can develop a very high performance tyre to beat our competitors in the toughest conditions and this year we will support nine teams in their pursuit of victory.”
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