CASEY STONER CRASHES AS RACE STARTS
The Suzuka 8 Hours was flagged off in sunshine and suffocating heat. The race got off to a thrilling start, with a pitched battle between the official teams. But with the Honda leading, Casey Stoner had a violent crash.
Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves gave the flag-off and the race started with the Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance bike ridden by Alex Lowes taking the lead, with Takumi Takahashi’s Honda Musashi RT Harc-Pro right behind.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga was not as quick off the mark on the Yamaha Factory Racing Team bike, trailing at tenth at the first corner. But the talent of the Japanese rider on his high-performance Yamaha enabled him to move up to third place by the end of the first hour. Team Green, which had made an impression in the practice sessions, encountered a problem during the warm-up lap and dropped behind the leaders in the early part of the race.
But the big event was Casey Stoner’s big crash an hour and forty minutes into the race. With a battered bike and an injured rider, Musashi RT Harc-Pro have to retire. The MotoGP rider suffered a broken right shoulder blade and fractured left tibia.
BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com registered the best start of the permanent teams, eighth at the first corner, ahead of the Monster Energy Yamaha YART. But 20 minutes into the race the Yamaha #7 was seen puttering back to the pits.
At the end of the first hour of the race, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, the SRC Kawasaki, the GMT94 Yamaha and the Honda Racing were in a tight huddle at tenth place.