WATANABE TO RACE AT SUZUKA 8H
Kazuki Watanabe will join Yoshimura Suzuki Endurance Race Team Motul at this year’s Suzuka 8H FIM Endurance World Championship on the 7th of August, as a full member of the team’s rider line-up.
In addition to contesting the All Japan Championship, the Japanese rider has played a crucial role within the Yoshimura SERT Motul operation developing the Suzuki GSX-R1000R as test/ reserve rider. It was always the intention that Watanabe would earn his EWC race stripes at the Suzuka 8H and now, in the 60th anniversary of the iconic event, he will get the opportunity to perform in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
Watanabe will join team regulars Sylvain Guintoli and Xavier Siméon, on the team’s Suzuki race bike, while Gregg Black will take on a leadership position as Team Captain, supporting the riders from the pit box. Black will travel to Suzuka with the team for testing in July and again for the full race week in August. He will return as a team rider for the final round of the 2022 series; the Bol d’Or 24-Hour at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France.
Yohei Kato, Team Director:
“We are delighted that the FIM EWC is back at the Suzuka 8H this year, and we are proud to announce that we will be fighting the popular race with Xavier Simeon, Sylvain Guintoli and our development rider Kazuki Watanabe.
“Kazuki has been a reserve rider and a member of the team from the beginning, and he made a substantial contribution to developing our GSX-R1000R. We are confident that, with his vast experience of racing at Suzuka, he will race to defend the title and hopefully exceed our expectations.
“Gregg is an essential part of the team with his experience and knowledge as well as his leadership qualities. He will be working in the team as a Rider-Captain and will be on standby to take part in the race at any time.
“The Suzuka 8H is taking place for the first time in three years, and it is great news that we will be racing in front of the fans again.
“It will be a very tough competition, but we will do our best to take the Japanese-French Yoshimura SERT Motul riders and machine to a podium finish at the Suzuka 8H once again.”
Damien Saulnier: Team Manager:
“I am delighted that the Suzuka 8H is back on the EWC calendar, and the whole team is very excited to be racing in Japan once again.
“When we talk about endurance racing, the 24 hours races are usually the main talking point. However, the Suzuka 8 hours is something very special, with a huge history full of many legendary stories over the years. This makes us very motivated to have the chance to add to that history and make a new story about Yoshimura SERT Motul.
“Since the Covid-19 restrictions, we have been unable to race at Suzuka, and so returning there this year is important for all the manufacturers, teams, riders and fans.
“It is of course a home round for Yoshimura and Suzuki, and so I am very proud to be working with Yoshimura Japan and Yohei Kato’s staff.
“This is the only non-24 hours race in the series this year. It may be shorter but it will be a very tough and difficult race for everyone. There are wild-card factory teams and similar high-level Japanese teams fighting for victory.
“Let’s see how we can challenge and perform in this, the third round of the 2022 FIM EWC.”