World Endurance: Race Results From The Suzuka 8-Hours (Updated)

World Endurance: Race Results From The Suzuka 8-Hours (Updated)

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

2022 FIM Endurance World Championship - Final results after 8 Hours - Provisional ranking

 

 

Iker Lecuona (33) at speed on the Team HRC Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP during the Suzuka 8-Hours race. Photo by Kohei Hirota.
Iker Lecuona (33) at speed on the Team HRC Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP during the Suzuka 8-Hours race. Photo by Kohei Hirota.

 

More, from a press release issued by FIM EWC:

HRC TAKES WIN, SERT FIRST OF SEASON CONTENDERS IN EWC SUZUKA 8 HOURS

August 7th, 2022|2022

Whilst there might have been drama and heartbreak behind, it was a dominant win for #33 Team HRC in 43rd Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours with the line-up of Tetsuta Nagashima, Takumi Takahashi and Iker Lecuona taking the chequered flag by over a lap in the third round of the FIM Endurance World Championship.

There has been late drama and a safety car in the final hour of the race after the leading season-contender #7 YART – Yamaha Official Team YZF-M1 got caught up with the #74 Akeno Speed – Yamaha Superstock bike at T13 such that rider Marvin Fritz had to dig the Yamaha out of the air barriers to get it back to the pits.

The late issue for the #7 gifted the championship leading #1 Yoshimura SERT Motul with the two-rider line-up of Gregg Black and Kazuki Watanabe taking maximum series points and third on the overall podium.

Ahead of the Yoshimura SERT bike on the all-Bridgestone shod podium was the #10 Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H ZX-10R of Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes and Leon Haslam, with a T12 slow lowside for Rea in the fourth hour seeming the only real cause for concern over the 8 hours.

After another late visit to the pits for a Stop and Go penalty for the #7 with Karel Hanika on board, the YART bike still came second of the full season runners – and seventh overall – with Niccolò Canepa the third of the rider line-up.

Next across the line of the full season contenders, the #5 FCC TSR CBR1000RR-R Fireblade with Josh Hook and Mike Di Meglio in action had fought back up the order after its earlier brake master cylinder change to finish in tenth overall.

The #88 Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA was the next of the permanent entries, with Zaqhwan Zaidi, Garry Slim and Helmi Azuman bringing their CBR1000RR-R home eleventh overall.

In fifteenth overall, the full-time #11 Webike SRC Kawasaki France entry was further down the order than they’d have liked, with an early visit to the pits after a drop at Degner 2 from Randy de Puniet and a later lack of fuel in the tank the primary culprits delaying their charge.

Finally, of the permanent entries, for the #37 BMW MOTORRAD WORLD ENDURANCE TEAM it was heartbreak at halftime as the M1000RR ridden by Markus Reiterberger, Illya Mykhalchyk and Jérémy Guarnoni was pushed back to the pits by Mykhalchyk for terminal diagnosis by the squad with the bike unable to retain its engine coolant.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing:

Team HRC Wins By More Than a Lap Giving Honda Its First Win in Eight Years, 28th Total

On Lap 165, Team HRC’s Lecuona changes with Takahashi. #10 Kawasaki also changes its rider to Jonathan Rea. After 170 laps, Takahashi leads, Canepa (Yamaha) is second, and Rea (Kawasaki) is third.

At this stage, seven Honda teams are in the top twelve. Hamahara (Honda Dream RT SAKURAI HONDA) is sixth, Kunimine (TOHO Racing) is seventh, Azman (Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA) ninth, Yuki Takahashi (Team ATJ with JAPAN POST) tenth, Hook (F.C.C. TSR Honda France) 11th, and Tajiri (GOSHI Racing) is 12th.

In the closing stages, teams change riders for the final stint. Kiyonari takes over from Kunimine for TOHO Racing, Zaidi from Azman for Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA.  Honda team begin to pit. As the seven hour mark passed, Fritz (Yamaha) crashed at the spoon curve, bringing out the safety car as multiple riders were involved. The race order changes to Takahashi, Rea and Watanabe (Suzuki). At 7 hours 19 minutes, the safety car leaves the track. Team HRC’s Takahashi pits on Lap 196, and after 41.776 s, Nagashima is back on the track for the final stint.

While Haslam (Kawasaki) laps in the 2 min 12 s range, and Watanabe (Suzuki), third, in the 2 min 13 s range, Nagashima sets himself apart by lapping at 2 min 8 s as the sun sets.

Nagashima had a clear track until the end, crossing the finish line to an ecstatic grand stand. The win marks Honda first victory since 2014, and its first victory as a factory team since 2008. Team HRC set lap records in Qualifying and Top 10 Qualifying to take pole position. Takahashi, Nagashima and Lecuona all lapped at impressive pace throughout the race, lapping all other teams, demonstrating the return of a strong Honda.

Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H was second overall, and YOSHIMURA SERT MOTUL (Suzuki) was third. For Honda, TOHO Racing was fifth, Honda Dream RT SAKURAI HONDA sixth, Team ATJ with JAPAN POST eighth, F.C.C. TSR Honda France tenth, Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA 11th, and GOSHI Racing 12th.

Although 35th and below were not counted as completing the race, #17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing was 37th, and #73 SDG Honda Racing was 43rd.

Tetsuta Nagashima 33

Team HRC

I’m simply happy! I’m glad to have had the opportunity to be involved in developing the CBR1000RR-RSP in 2021 and 2022, realize its potential, and show the world. Honda’s engineers have tested the bike over and over, and were rewarded by our Suzuka 8 Hours victory. I am grateful to be a part of the development, and grew with each test we did. I believe we demonstrated a strong Honda at the first Suzuka 8 Hours in three years.

Takumi Takahashi 33

Team HRC

I’ve always been unhappy with the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours, so I’m glad we won today. I’m relieved that I managed to play my part, as Nagashima developed the bike, and I had to become accustomed to it and bring out its potential, otherwise I would hold him back. This was the first Suzuka 8 Hours for Iker [Lecuona], and he did a great job. The HRC team gave us solid support including pit work. I am grateful to everyone involved. This is my fourth Suzuka 8 Hours victory, and if I get another chance, I will aim for the record of five victories held by Toru Ukawa.

Iker Lecuona 33

Team HRC

I am really, really, really happy to win my first Suzuka 8 Hours. It felt amazing when Nagashima was met by the checkered flag. Everything has gone well since the Suzuka tests, the bike developed by Honda and Nagashima was superb, and I think I managed to bring out the performance of the bike. I was worried when the safety car entered the track that I would lose the gap our other two riders had built up, but we got through fine. I am grateful to the best team and my teammates. If I have the opportunity next year, I’d like to be back at Suzuka.

Teppei Nagoe 73

SDG Honda Racing

I am sincerely grateful for the team that brought us back to the track. It is very emotional for me, but through the Suzuka 8 Hours, I have once again felt how wonderful motorsports is, and how hard it is to be on the podium. I felt that for next year, I need to grow more with the experiences I gained here, and become a rider who can lead his team.

Naomichi Uramoto 73

SDG Honda Racing

The accident happened just when I thought we could keep up with the top riders, so I am very disappointed. All our riders were in good condition and well prepared. You really do not know what will happen at the Suzuka 8 Hours. But, I am happy that I was given the opportunity to race in the Suzuka 8 Hours. I am grateful to Nagoe, Enokido, and the team for their support, and everyone who cheered for us.
Ikuhiro Enokido 73

SDG Honda Racing

I made the team’s job harder during practice, so I am very, very grateful for Nagoe , Uramoto and the whole team for this Suzuka 8 Hours. Our results are disappointing, but I have gained a really good experience in racing my first Suzuka 8 Hours. I will turn my disappointment into motivation, and race my next race.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by HRC:

Team HRC wins Suzuka 8H by more than a lap, giving Honda its first win in eight years, 28th total

Team HRC (Tetsuta Nagashima / Takumi Takahashi / Iker Lecuona) won the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours, marking Honda’s 28th Suzuka 8 Hours victory and the first since 2014.

Team HRC returned to the Suzuka 8 Hours as Honda’s factory team in 2018 after a decade-long absence. The team was second in 2018, and third in 2019.

Team HRC set the fastest lap time in Friday’s timed qualifying sessions, proceeding easily into Saturday’s Top 10 Trial, which was changed to a conventional Top 10 qualifying session at the last minute. Tetsuta Nagashima set the fastest lap time of 2 min 4.934 s to secure pole position for the team.

Takumi Takahashi was Team HRC’s starting rider, and despite losing the lead at the start, regained the top spot on Lap 10. From that point onwards, Tetsuta Nagashima and Iker Lecuona rode solid stints to maintain a comfortable gap with the closest competitor. At 7:32pm, after 214 laps, Team HRC crossed the finish line to win from pole position.

This win marks Takumi Takahashi’s fourth Suzuka 8 Hours win, and a first for Tetsuta Nagashima and Iker Lecuona.

Team HRC set lap records in Qualifying and Top 10 Qualifying to take pole position. Takahashi, Nagashima and Lecuona all lapped at impressive pace throughout the race, lapping all other teams, demonstrating the return of a strong Honda.

Tetsuta Nagashima  33

I’m simply happy! I’m glad to have had the opportunity to be involved in developing the CBR1000RR-RSP in 2021 and 2022, realize its potential, and show the world. Honda’s engineers have tested the bike over and over, and were rewarded by our Suzuka 8 Hours victory. I am grateful to be a part of the development, and grew with each test we did. I believe we demonstrated a strong Honda at the first Suzuka 8 Hours in three years.

Takumi Takahashi  33

I’ve always been unhappy with the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours, so I’m glad we won today. I’m relieved that I managed to play my part, as Nagashima developed the bike, and I had to become accustomed to it and bring out its potential, otherwise I would hold him back. This was the first Suzuka 8 Hours for Iker [Lecuona], and he did a great job. The HRC team gave us solid support including pit work. I am grateful to everyone involved. This is my fourth Suzuka 8 Hours victory, and if I get another chance, I will aim for the record of five victories held by Toru Ukawa.

Iker Lecuona  33

I am really, really, really happy to win my first Suzuka 8 Hours. It felt amazing when Nagashima was met by the checkered flag. Everything has gone well since the Suzuka tests, the bike developed by Honda and Nagashima was superb, and I think I managed to bring out the performance of the bike. I was worried when the safety car entered the track that I would lose the gap our other two riders had built up, but we got through fine. I am grateful to the best team and my teammates. If I have the opportunity next year, I’d like to be back at Suzuka.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

KRT Strong Second In Suzuka 8 Hours Race

The KRT entry of Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes and Leon Haslam finished second in the Suzuka 8 Hours EWC race on Sunday 7 August, after completing 213 laps of the 5.821km ‘figure eight’ circuit.

WorldSBK KRT riders Rea and Lowes, plus regular BSB rider Haslam, put in an epic effort  on their Number 10 Ninja ZX-10RR but finished one lap behind eventual winners HRC Honda.

Having qualified second fastest KRT led the race on lap nine, and from lap 29 to 30 during a gruelling race of attrition.

An unfortunately timed appearance by one of the pace cars split KRT from the leading team at one stage of the race. Later, a small crash from Rea, while trying to pass two slower riders in his effort to trim the leaders’ margin, lost some more seconds that proved to be impossible to make up again before race end.

All three riders put in a strong ‘shift’ behind the handlebars of the Number 10 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR, with even Lowes (who is still trying to shake off the effects of a recent illness) riding two sessions to Rea and Haslam’s three apiece.

The final on-track stint was put in by Haslam, but with an entire lap to make up in the closing stages of the race it was an impossible task for any rider.

Kawasaki Plaza Racing Team, with riders Ryosuke Iwato, Yuta Okaya and Naoki Kiyosue, placed 13th overall and won the Superstock category that runs alongside the full EWC spec machines. The team led the Superstock race-within-a-race on four separate occasions, but once they had regained the lead on lap 31 it was retained all the way to the end. They set 205 laps in all.

After two years with no Suzuka 8 Hours on the calendar the enthusiastic crowd witnessed three different manufacturers on the final EWC podium.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been a really enjoyable week here in Suzuka with my team. All the team staff, plus my team-mates Leon and Alex, meant that the atmosphere has been incredible. We have worked really well together, everybody from back room staff, strategy people, caterers, nutritionists, doctors – every single person in the team worked so hard with a busy schedule to get here. It is not easy to have two goals in a single season – the WorldSBK championship and also the Suzuka 8 Hours. We had huge competition here, and did our best. I feel we just came up short but we can be proud, and really proud of my team-mates and everyone else for their hard work. It is a little bit bitter sweet coming second best but I think we can fly home knowing we gave it our best shot. There were a few mistakes in the race, a few issues, but that is Endurance racing and we can stand on that podium and be proud of our efforts. Thanks to Kawasaki and all of our sponsors for making this happen and no doubt we will be back again to try and go one better.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “It was a tough race but it has been a tough ten days for me, coming from the Most WorldSBK round, where I did not feel at my best. In the race I did the best I could. I am a little bit disappointed because I feel I probably could have done a little bit better but we were not fast enough today. Second was about the best we could do. I want to say a big thanks to the whole Kawasaki Racing Team. They have had a tough schedule, including the tests we have done here, and it is a big challenge to take on such a big event as the Suzuka 8 Hours. A massive thank you to all of them for the hard work and big respect to Leon and Johnny my team-mates, who have done a great job all week. It has been a pleasure to be here with them. Thank you very much guys. I hope we can come back in the future and do one better.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “The Suzuka 8 Hours is always a pleasure to come to. The team this year was absolutely fantastic. The effort from every single person – both my team-mates Johnny and Alex – was great. I think we maximised what we did and we can go home proud. For sure we wanted to win and there are a few areas we want to obviously try to improve on to do that. But for this 8 Hours we all gave our maximum; the atmosphere was great, the team was fantastic so big thanks to everyone. I am happy to stand on the podium again at the Suzuka 8 Hours.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “It has been a very good experience here at Suzuka. Thanks to KMC for trusting in the KRT WorldSBK project to manage the 8 Hours race. We did it with big support and big help from all the KMC engineers, and we took hundreds of notes where we need to improve. Only when you stay in the action can you really learn perfection. Honda did very well, and we have to congratulate them. The second Pace Car appearance threw away the show in this 8 Hours, because for just few seconds we could not pass them to stay in the same slot as Honda. We missed nearly 40 seconds there and then it was impossible to recover the time to Honda given the level they rode at. Jonathan’s fall while trying to put pressure on them, when passing two slow riders, finally made us lose all our possibilities. Alex, in fairness, was not in his best shape after his illness. Leon made a great job and added his speed and experience. Massive thanks to all the KRT and KMC guys; they made an incredible job. And special thanks to Mr. Nishiyama, KMC Senior Engineer responsible for the WorldSBK project, who made massive efforts. Let’s see if we have second chance in the future.”

The #11 Ninja ZX-10RR of Webike SRC Kawasaki France with riders Randy de Puniet, Etienne Masson and Florian Marino finished 15th overall, in a tough race with 34 finishers from 45 starters.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

YART Yamaha Battle to Seventh at Suzuka 8 Hours

The Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team fought back valiantly to cross the line in seventh after a late crash denied them a podium at the 43rd edition of the Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race, Round 3 of the FIM Endurance World Championship.

The YART Yamaha team of Karel Hanika, Niccolò Canepa, and Marvin Fritz lined up on the grid in third for the legendary endurance race after a superb qualifying performance that saw all three riders lap in the 2:05s on Saturday. The predicted thunderstorms stayed away on Sunday, with temperatures rising to 32 degrees Celsius in Japan as the teams assembled for the traditional Le Mans running start. The YART team had been fast since the first day of testing, but the extra heat and humidity on Sunday brought an element of uncertainty, with track temperatures soaring to the highest they had been all week.

YART were not only spearheading Yamaha’s attack in Suzuka against the other factory teams but were also looking to close the 27-point gap on their rivals in the EWC standings. Unfortunately, when the flag dropped, Canepa had an issue getting the YART Yamaha R1 started and found himself down in 25th position on the opening lap. Immediately, the 34-year-old Italian set about making up places and his pace meant he had made his way up to 17th by the time they deployed the safety car on lap three after a crash.

When the race resumed, Canepa scythed through the pack to mount a sensational fightback and was up to third by the time he handed the bike over to his teammate Fritz. The 29-year-old continued the excellent work, lapping metronomically and staying in touch with the two factory teams before passing the baton to Hanika. The Czech rider upped the pace even more, setting the team’s fastest lap of the race, a 2:07.781, as he began hunting down the leaders.

As the hours went by, all three riders maintained a relentless pace and consistently lapped in the 2:08s around the 5.821km Suzuka Circuit. By hour five, they were up to second and battling with the factory Kawasaki (KRT) team, plus they had opened up a gap of over one and a half minutes over the team in fourth. YART had the better pace, but KRT were averaging three laps more per stint. The two teams kept swapping places each time they pitted, and it seemed like it would all come down to the wire to decide the final two spots on the podium. During their seventh pit stop, as Canepa handed the bike back to Fritz, a minor issue with the rear tyre saw them lose just over 30 seconds, but a quick repair by the team meant they re-joined in third, and although they had lost touch with KRT, they managed to retain a 14-second gap to the team in fourth.

Then, with an hour to go, disaster struck, as Fritz crashed after making contact while overtaking another bike at Turn 13. The German rider heroically dug the bike out from the air fence and brought it back to the pits despite significant damage to the #7 R1. Miraculously, the YART team repaired the bike in under nine minutes to send Hanika back out on track in seventh, five laps down on the leaders with 40 minutes to go.

The 26-year-old got his head down and managed to make up one place before bad luck struck again as he was forced to complete a ride-through penalty as a consequence of the earlier crash. Visibly frustrated at the decision but remaining focused, Hanika battled to the end to secure a heroic seventh place overall and second amongst the full-time EWC teams after completing 209 laps.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on their first Suzuka podium, the team showcased their pace once more and managed to secure three championship points for qualifying in third, plus another 14 for their seventh-place finish. This sees them remain third in the overall standings with 93 points, 34 points behind the leaders. The Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team returns to action at the final round of the season, the Bol d’Or on the 16th-18th of September, with everything still to play for with a possible 96.5 points up for grabs due to the fact EWC rules mean that any points scored in the last race are multiplied by 1.5.

Karel Hanika – P7 (209 laps)
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

“Obviously, I am disappointed. We did not put a foot wrong for seven hours, were by far the fastest EWC team, and were even involved in a battle for second with the KRT Team. The team did an amazing job. During the race, we struggled a bit with the front tyre in the hotter conditions, but I felt good on the bike, and our pace was excellent. We did the maximum that was possible for today. I feel sorry for Marvin, as he rode brilliantly, and these things can happen in endurance racing, but we will be back to Suzuka next year, and now we are focused on the Bol d’Or in September.”

Marvin Fritz – P7 (209 laps)
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

“I don’t really have much to say right now. I want to say sorry to the whole team and everyone from Yamaha. The podium was in touching distance, but with less than an hour to go, I went to overtake a back marker and crashed. I was not even pushing that hard at the time; I was just focusing on my rhythm. I went to make the pass up the inside at Turn 13 as he left a gap, but then he moved back across the track, and we were both on the same racing line. We made contact and went down. The bike was damaged a lot, but the team did amazingly to repair the bike in under ten minutes. I am just sorry for the team, as we worked hard all week, and everyone deserved the podium. We were fast in every session, and it hurts to finish like this. I know our time will come, and we are already looking forward to the Bol d’Or.”

Niccolò Canepa – P7 (209 laps)
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

“Honestly, I am a bit lost for words. We finished in seventh, but that wasn’t the result we wanted or deserved. After the issue at the start, I had to fight back from 25th place on the opening lap and recovered to third by the time my first stint was over, which was amazing. Our pace was excellent, and the YART Yamaha R1 felt really good. Everybody did an awesome job, and we were just unlucky. Our dream has always been to finish on the podium at Suzuka, and we were so close, but these things happen in endurance racing. We will come back even stronger next year, but first, we turn our attention to the Bol d’Or to ensure we finish the season in the best way possible.”

Mandy Kainz
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team – Team Manager

“It is hard to put into words the feelings I have right now. Obviously, I am disappointed, but I am also very proud of the whole team. We do not have as many resources compared to our factory rivals, but we were right up there at the front all week. We were fast from the first day of testing and were the only team to have all three riders in the 2:05s during qualifying. During the race, the guys rode superbly, they were so consistent, and it looked like we would achieve our dream of recording our first ever podium at Suzuka. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, but this is endurance racing. I want to thank the whole team for their efforts this week; they have been incredible. We will be back again next year, but first, we are determined to finish the season as strongly as possible at the Bol d’Or.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team:

Technical retirement: Strong performance of BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team at Suzuka 8 Hours goes unrewarded.

Markus Reiterberger, Ilya Mikhalchik and Jérémy Guarnoni do battle for a strong result in the third round of the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship in Japan.

A technical failure forces the team to retire halfway through the race for safety reasons.
Season finale at Le Castellet in mid-September.

Suzuka. BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team impressed with a strong performance in their first appearance at the famous Suzuka 8 Hours (JPN)but went unrewarded. In the first half of the race, Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Jérémy Guarnoni (FRA) on the #37 BMW M 1000 RR did battle for a very good result but after nearly four hours, a technical failure forced the team to retire from the race for safety reasons. Suzuka was the third event of the season in the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC).

Up until the retirement, the race week at Suzuka had been going well for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Team manager Werner Daemen’s crew, who were contesting the iconic race for the first time, held their ground as the only works team of a European manufacturer in the strong field of numerous Japanese teams. In the combined results of Friday’s qualifying sessions the team finished in sixth place to secure one of the coveted spots in the top ten qualifying on Saturday. During this session, in which the first ten positions on the grid were awarded, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team focussed on preparing for the race and qualified in ninth place on the starting grid.

As in the previous days, high temperatures and high humidity made the race a physical challenge for riders and teams but starting rider Mikhalchik, Reiterberger and Guarnoni delivered a flawless performance. The team’s efforts in the pit stops were also flawless, and the strategy was a good one that allowed the team to set themselves the goal of a top five or six finish, which would have been a very good result for a European team at Suzuka. After nearly four hours however, Mikhalchik initially rolled to the side of the track before he could push the bike a bit and then ride back to the pits. Due to an engine failure in the cooling circuit area, the team had to retire from the race.

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is now focussing on the season finale of the 2022 FIM EWC, the 24-hour race Bol d’Or at Le Castellet (FRA) from 15th to 18th September.

Quotes after of the Suzuka 8 Hours.
 
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “It is difficult to express just how disappointed I am. The entire team, especially the riders, did a very good job. It has not been easy for us here because we had never been here and had never tested here before. We made it into the top ten qualifying and performed very well in difficult conditions over all these days. In the race, we had a very good start. Ilya moved up into fifth straight away and he, Markus and Jérémy were running well over the first hours. But then we encountered this technical failure and I hope that we can find the cause very soon together with BMW so that this will not happen again.”

Markus Reiterberger: “We started well into the race. Ilya had a great start I was able to continue with a good stint. We have always been within the top five and top eight so we set ourselves the goal to finish between the first five to seven places. This would have been realistic, we could have got a strong result. It was a pity to then have the technical issue. The team and us riders have worked so hard for this race and have to travel home now with empty hands. That was really frustrating. Thanks to the team for the great commitment and efforts.”

Ilya Mikhalchik: “Of course it is pretty frustrating to end the race this way. We have been in a quite good position and it was possible to finish with a really strong result. But then we had the technical issue. It is like it is, and for sure it is good to have gathered some more data and we again have made steps on the bike for the next races. We will fight again. In general, it was good to see the progress on the bike over the weekend, without not having any tests here before. Also the Dunlop tyres worked well and we have always been in the top ten and rode lap times like the guys on other tyres. This gives us confidence. We will now leave the disappointment behind us and focus on the next one.”

Jérémy Guarnoni: “I am really disappointed with this result. We did a very good job over the entire week with a big effort from the team and riders and I think we really did everything perfectly during the weekend. During the race we then had a technical issue that is not under control of the team. We hope that this problem can be solved for the next races and that we can fight at the 24 hours at the Bol d’Or. I think we can fight for the win there. So a big thank you to the team, to all mechanics, team management and riders, because we did a great weekend here.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

YOSHIMURA SERT MOTUL ON SUZUKA PODIUM

Yoshimura SERT Motul: Suzuki GSX-R1000R – 3rd.

The Yoshimura Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Motul pulled off a remarkable feat at the Suzuka 8-Hours by finishing third, despite having only two riders and starting from 22nd on the grid. This accomplishment enabled the team to consolidate its position as FIM Endurance World Championship leader.

The reigning world championship team started from 22nd position on the grid after a very difficult qualifying session, however, the entire team had high hopes for the race. At the drop of the flag, Gregg Black made the most of his experience by making an exceptional start, immediately moving up 15 places.

A crash at the beginning of the race called for the intervention of the safety car for seven laps. When the race resumed, the Suzuki GSX-R1000R, continued to climb in the standings and the team momentarily took the lead in the provisional rankings.

When Kazuki Watanabe took over from Black, the team was in a solid fourth place. Drawing on his knowledge of the Suzuka circuit, the Japanese rider maintained a very fast pace and kept the team towards the front.

The Suzuki GSX-R1000R with Bridgestone tyres was superbly prepared for the 8-hour event, and the support crew performed super-fast pit stops throughout the race. Although they were missing their third teammate in the physically demanding race, Black and Watanabe maintained their speed and control and were in third place at the halfway point. Despite suffocating heat and fatigue, the two riders remained focused.

With just one hour to go, the team was in a strong fourth and perfectly positioned to take advantage of a mistake made by its main championship rival. A superb performance rewarded Yoshimura SERT Motul with third place on the finish line of the 2022 EWC Suzuka 8-Hours.

The Suzuki GSX-R1000R-mounted S-Pulse Dream Racing team of Hideyuki Ogata, Atsumi Cocoro and Takuya Tsuda also rode brilliantly to finish fourth overall in the race.

Yoshimura SERT Motul has consolidated its position as leader of the FIM EWC championship. It will start the Bol d’Or, final round of the 2022 season scheduled for the 17th and 18th of September, at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, with a tally of 127 championship points and a lead of 23 points over its main rival.

Damien Saulnier – Team Manager:

“It was a complicated week and a crazy race. Finishing in third position is not a victory, but it felt like it. I am really proud of the whole technical team and the riders who did a great job in really difficult conditions. With only two riders, it was not possible to compete with the leaders of the race, but we had to ensure a good score. The contract was fulfilled.”

Yohei Kato – Team Director:

“This podium is like a victory for us. We started 22nd and finished third, it’s incredible. This result is even better than what we expected. On top of that we have increased our lead in the championship. After Gregg’s great start, we stayed calm and followed our roadmap to avoid making any mistakes. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Gregg Black:

“What an incredible race with a result that was a bit unexpected given the conditions. I came here as a team leader. I finally took part in the practice and the race. We were originally aiming for victory, but the withdrawal of Xavier and Sylvain forced us to change our plans. The goal was to save as many points as possible. From the beginning of the race, it went well for us. The two leading machines had a very high pace, but these teams are not competing for the championship. Their goals are different from ours. It is always difficult to fight against them on a regular basis but we defended ourselves well. We also took advantage of a race in the last hour. This third place is a very good result because the race was physical, and it was complicated to stay focused until the end. The team and the bike were perfect here. In endurance racing, you have to believe in yourself and not give up. That’s what we did and the result proves that.”

Kazuki Watanabe:

“As we were only two riders, we knew it would be very hard. But Gregg and the team did a very good job, I’m extremely satisfied with this podium. It’s incredible starting from so far back. It’s also very positive for the championship because we take big points. Thanks to everyone who supported us.”

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