First tests at Suzuka
Most of the teams competing in the 42nd Suzuka 8 Hours were on the track this morning. Red Bull Honda posted the fastest time, ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing Team and Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda. F.C.C. TSR Honda France and YART Yamaha were in the Top 5.
The first day of tests will throw up a likely hierarchy for qualifying on Friday 26 July. The favourites consolidated their places in the first session this morning.
Red Bull Honda topped the timesheets with a 2:06.670 lap by Takumi Takahashi, ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing Team (2:07.583), who have won the past four editions of the Suzuka 8 Hours, and Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda (2:07.616).
Japanese team F.C.C. TSR Honda France proved the quickest of the full-season FIM Endurance World Cup teams, with a 2:07.645. The Suzuka-based reigning champions are targeting the podium in order to retain their world title.
YART Yamaha posted the 5th-fastest time: a 2:08.378 lap by Niccolò Canepa. The Austrian team had already proved very competitive during the pre-test at Suzuka in early July.
Kawasaki Racing Team entered the fray this morning and took 6th place, but the factory bike with Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu riding will undoubtedly step up the pace in today’s second session.
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing finished 7th ahead of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who are continuing to fine-tune their race settings.
Other teams who did not take part in the early July tests will have to make up for lost time, including Honda Endurance Racing, Webike Tati Team Trick Star, VRD Igol Pierret Expériences and Team SRC Kawasaki France. However, all four teams finished the first session in the Top 20.