40 days to go for 50 teams competing in first edition of 8 Hours of Sepang
50 teams, including 36 full-season 2019-2020 FIM EWC entries (21 in Formula EWC, 15 in Superstock) will be on the track in Malaysia alongside 12 Asian teams seeking to qualify for the 2020 Suzuka 8 Hours.
The pre-eminent entry will be Malaysian squad Yamaha Sepang Racing, with a line-up featuring MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Malaysia’s star rider Hafizh Syahrin, who competes in MotoGP with Red Bull KTM Tech3, and Michael van der Mark, 4th overall in the FIM Superbike Championship and 4-time winner of the Suzuka 8 Hours.
Several Japanese teams will be front and centre. Honda Asia Dream Racing with Showa, a Top 10 player in the Suzuka 8 Hours over the past few years, will field Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi, their number-one racer since 2016, alongside Indonesian rider Gerry Salim, who competes in the Moto2 European Championship, and Thai Moto2 world championship rider Somkiat Chantra.
A couple of all-Japanese teams will also be worth keeping an eye on: Kawasaki-mounted RS Itoh (Akira Yanagawa, Kasuki Ito and Hitoyasu Izutsu) and Team Plus One (BMW) with racers Taro Sekiguchi, a former GP250 rider, like his teammate Daisaku Sakai (who rode for Suzuki Endurance Racing Team in 2011) and Kousuke Nagoe.
Sepang sounds like Revenge
Several FIM EWC teams will be seeking revenge at the 8 Hours of Sepang. Three of the favourites who had to withdraw from the Bol d’Or are targeting the win at Sepang. F.C.C. TSR Honda France, halted by engine failure while in the lead, and Webike SRC Kawasaki France and YART Yamaha, who both subsequently fell victim to oil spillage from the Honda, have to catch up with the Bol d’Or winner Suzuki Endurance Racing Team as well as Wójcik Racing Team, the surprise runner-up of the opening round, and the ambitious new factory squad BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, who finished in 3rd place at the Bol d’Or.
The Superstock class will also see a close fight between Moto Ain, the winner of the 2018-2019 World Cup and the Bol d’Or, and Japanese team Tone RT (BMW), the top Superstock of the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours 2019 (14th past the finish line).
The first practice sessions will take place on Wednesday 11 December on the Sepang International Circuit.
The first edition of the 8 Hours of Sepang, to be held on Saturday 14 December, is a key component of an all-new dual event in Asian motorsport history. For the very first time, Sepang International Circuit and Eurosport Events will bring together two-and-four-wheel action on the same weekend from day to night: FIM EWC, with the 8 Hours of Sepang, and the 2019 super finale of the WTCR – World Touring Car presented by OSCARO.