Kawasaki Announces Official Suzuka 8 Hours Entry
Kawasaki has confirmed that it will officially participate in the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours event. As reigning champions a full factory program is being put into place after two years without the event being held at all, due to the worldwide Covid pandemic.
The official KRT entry this year will feature the riding talents of three proven Suzuka 8 Hours race winners, in the shape of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes from the WorldSBK KRT squad, and Leon Haslam from the BSB championship.
KRT engineers and mechanics will support Japanese Kawasaki engineers and technicians to be ready to fight for success once again in the world’s most challenging motorcycle endurance race.
As well as being an important stand-alone event the Suzuka 8 Hours is a full round of the FIM Endurance World Championship – EWC.
The official Kawasaki 2022 riding line up features two riders that shared the spoils of victory in the most recent Suzuka 8 Hours in 2019 – Rea and Haslam. In total, Rea has two previous Suzuka 8 Hours wins, while Lowes and Haslam have three apiece.
Kawasaki has won two previous editions of the 8 Hours, the first back in 1993 and most recently in the 2019 race.
The 43rd edition of the Suzuka 8-Hour arguably the most important single race event on the Japanese motorcycle sport calendar, will take place between 5-7 August 2022.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am so excited to go back to Japan. Understandably Kawasaki has always had such a great support out there. We won the race 3 years ago. Kawasaki was understandably keen to defend the title and especially to continue the positive exposure WorldSBK is delivering to Kawasaki currently while extending that positivity to the 8h and Japan. Due to Covid we weren’t able to return until now. I always feel really appreciated by the Japanese fans. The atmosphere is incredible and I am really looking forward to going back. I think the target heading back to Suzuka is to win. We won there before and this season I feel, with Alex and Leon inside the team, we have a lot of experience together with the Ninja ZX-10RR. I am really excited to go back and see what we can do. We are going with a huge effort, lots of testing, taking the event seriously with a strong rider line up and a team with a lot more experience. I feel the minimum we can do is compete for the podium, but of course in Endurance racing everything can go right, everything can go wrong. We have to be very calm, mature, and do our best, lap-by-lap.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “It is a race that I have had some success with in the past. I am really happy to be going back there with Kawasaki for the first time. To be paired with Jonathan, who won last time he was there, is fantastic. Obviously I am a good friend of Leon’s away from the track so it will be nice to be in the same team as him too. I share the garage with Johnny every weekend and he obviously is a reigning champion at Suzuka because we have missed a couple of years. I have won the event three times so I think we have a pretty good team, a strong team, and I am looking forward to seeing how we get on all together. With the test schedule Kawasaki has created we know how focused they are on this race. As the race comes back on the calendar in 2022 they want to win and we are going there to do our best to achieve another victory. Let’s see if we can hit our target.
Leon Haslam, stated: “For me, to go back to the Suzuka 8 Hours is fantastic. I have had a lot of success there and managed to win it three times. Johnny and I won it back 2019, the last time it was run, so to go back in 2022 I have really high expectations. To be teamed back up with Johnny and also Alex, who was our main rival in 2019 – I think we have the dream team. I am super-excited and can’t wait to get going. The goal for 2022 at Suzuka obviously is to win, and to get back-to-back wins for Kawasaki.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “We are so proud to assist in this race and Kawasaki asked us to fully support this Suzuka 8 Hours activity, similar as we did in 2019 when was supporting Team Green and KHI Engineers. We are going to make one step more and bring the team’s Superbikes there at 100% to try to take the victory again. We will see how we work in the next test and make our best steps. It will be a combination of the KRT WorldSBK staff and the Japanese engineers.
They have good experience in the 8 Hours and will be supporting us in many areas. It is a very important race for Japan as a country, and the market in Japan, and we are very proud to be there to support this race. But we feel for the fans all over the world, 8h race, is a very iconic one too. For KRT and Kawasaki it is a very important event because it represents the spirit of the sport in Japan. I know Kawasaki is willing to make a good job there, try to battle against other manufacturers and give a good show. In the end it is like a big show, a big party of motorcycling in Japan. Kawasaki is so committed to this activity. We are going to try to make all our best there and bring the trophy back to Kawasaki again.”