The 39th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours will kick off in Japan on Sunday 31 July. The race will be flagged off at 11.30am local time (GMT+9) and is scheduled to finish shortly after nightfall, at 7.30pm. Japanese broadcaster BS12 TV will provide full live coverage of the legendary race, and worldwide coverage is set to increase in 2016.
Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance dominated the first Suzuka 8 Hours test ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda. But we’ll have to wait for the second test on 13 and 14 July to see last year’s Suzuka 8 Hours winner Yamaha Factory Racing Team on the track.
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.
Besides the squads in the top ten in the Suzuka 8 Hours standings, most of the permanent teams have secured respectable places. After Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s fourth place and GMT94 Yamaha’s sixth place, Honda Racing finished 7th and Team Bolliger Switzerland 12th.
At the end of a hotly contested race, the Yamaha Factory Racing bike masterfully handled by MotoGP riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith along with Japanese rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga won the day at the Suzuka 8 Hours, opening a wonderful new chapter in the history of this iconic event. It is the first time since 2002 that a MotoGP rider has won the race.