For the start of this year’s race, heavy rain really put a damper on the start and caused a delay. The Suzuka 8 Hours was more like the Suzuka 6 Hours, as only six hours and thirty-five minutes could be fit into the race’s time slot. Still, FIM Endurance World Championship fans were able to see lots of great racing action, which unfortunately saw F.C.C. TSR Honda out early while in the lead.
Kosuke Akiyoshi gave F.C.C. TSR Honda its early lead, and strong ride from teammate Jonathan Rea seemed to lock in their position. But on his next ride, Akiyoshi took a very big spill at the 130R corner. Was able to ride his Honda CBR1000RR back into the pits with a broken femur, Akiyoshi was the hero of the race for his team, but F.C.C. TSR would end up settling for 40th overall.
That crash left the door wide open for MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team to cruise into the lead, which at the end of the race was sitting on the top step of the podium at Suzuka for the second year in a row. The Japanese team, which was comprised of Takumi Takahashi, Leon Haslam, and Michael van der Mark put in an impressive performance at the Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance race, though only had roughly a minute’s gap at the finish line to show for it.
The fastest lap of the race goes to MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO as well, as Michael van der Mark put down a 2’08.620 lap time.
The Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE team of Takuya Tsuda, Randy de Puniet, and Josh Waters took second place, which was a very much welcomed result after the Yoshimura Suzuki Legends team didn’t get past Lap 6, where Nobu Aoki crashed and had to be taken to the hospital.
Because of Aoki’s crash, Kevin Schwantz didn’t get to turn a single lap in this year’s Suzuka 8-Hour — a huge disappointment since the American GP legend found a spot on the podium at last year’s event.
Schwantz’s team from last year, Team Kagayama took third. Comprised of Noriyuki Haga, Dominique Aegerter, and Yukio Kagayama, it’s the second time in a row now that Team Kagayama has finished third at Suzuka.
In the FIM Endurance World Championship, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) was the top team to finish, posting an eighth place result. Comprised of Anthony Delhalle, Erwan Nigon and Damian Cudlin, SERT’s outing at Suzuka was a strong one, especially considering all the strong Japanese teams that enter the Suzuka 8-Hour.
Still, with the French team’s retirement at the Bol d’Or, SERT ‘s championship hopes appear to be zero, especially as the Yamaha Racing GMT94 and Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) finished ninth and tenth, respectively.
Continued below on Page 2 for full results table & summary video