Honda the front-runner at Suzuka
The first private test is being held today (5 July) in Suzuka. Honda have already taken the lead, but are facing stiff competition, notably from YART Yamaha.
The first face-off at Suzuka took place on a very wet track during a private test. Japanese Honda team Au.Teleru MotoUp RT ((Kosuke Akiyoshi, Tetsuta Nagashima and Isaac Viñales) turned in the best performance with a 2:18.421 lap, ahead of HRC. The Honda-HRC factory team (Takumi Takahashi, Takaaki Nakagami and Leon Camier) set a 2:18.446 best.
YART Yamaha are third-quickest with a 2:19.049. They are leading a group comprising Honda Asia Dream Racing, Kawasaki Team Green, Honda Dream RT Sakurai, Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing, Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda and Team Kagayama, whose owner Yukio Kagayama has just announced the names of his teammates. He will be sharing stints with American Moto2 rider Joe Roberts and Japanese rider Naomichi Uramoto, who is racing the Spanish Championship. The 500cc Grand Prix world champion Kevin Schwantz, who was on the Suzuka podium for Team Kagayama in 2013, will be the team manager.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France is also taking part in the test, in a prudent 14th place with a 2:22.412 lap.
There will be more tests on the Suzuka circuit this week and next.