HRC blasts into the 2m04s with Nagashima in EWC Suzuka first qualifying
Tetsuta Nagashima unleashed the opening salvo in the Suzuka 8 Hours qualifying contest with blinding lap to put the #33 Team HRC Honda CBR1000RR-RSP into 2m04s territory in the first of the three Q1 sessions.
Nagashima used every bit of his Bridgestones’ adhesion and knew he had set a blinder with his 2m04.942s, waving to the crowds as he returned to the pits halfway through the 20-minute first session for Blue Riders.
The #33 ended the session with an advantage of over 1.1secs from the #7 YART-Yamaha Official Team EWC entry with Marvin Fritz on board the Bridgestone-shod YZF-R1 with the #17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing Honda CBR1000RR-R third quickest.
Of the EWC contenders, the #5 FCC TSR Honda France set the sixth fastest time with Josh Hook hooking it up nicely on the CBR1000RR-R, again on Bridgestones, whilst the #37 BMW MOTORRAD WORLD ENDURANCE TEAM set a top ten time in the overall standings with Markus Reiterberger taking his Dunlop-shod M1000RR to a 2m06.963s lap.
Notably, the #1 Yoshimura SERT Motul GSR-R1000R did not take to the track in the session, with Sylvian Guintoli having injured his hand in testing earlier in the week.
For the Yellow Rider outings, it was YART’s turn to rule the roost, with Niccolò Canepa the first of the squad’s riders to post a time in the 2m05s with a 2m05.863, just over three tenths quicker than Alex Lowes on the #10 Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H ZX-10RR and Takumi Takahashi on the #33 Honda third fastest.
Of the Yellow EWC riders, the #37 BMW was next up with the 5tht fastest overall time with Illya Mykhalchyk in action and the #5 Honda seventh overall with Gino Rea in action. The SERT first appearance saw Gregg Black in action, posting the eighth-fastest time, a 2m07.373s.
Any thoughts of Red Rider glory for the final Q1 session were soon dampened as the skies converted humidity to precipitation, albeit initially only on one part of the track and ironically as the sun was making a first appearance of the day from a different direction.
With most of the session run to voluntary red conditions as the teams stayed off track, it was only late action in the 20 minutes which saw the #5 Honda set a 2m 10.556s lap with Mike Di Meglio in action, whilst the #50 TEAM KODAMA Yamaha YZF-M1 was just four tenths behind. Illustrating the nature of the Red session, the next bike was almost six seconds slower.
With the skies above Suzuka brightening, the trio of Q2 sessions will start from 15:50 local time.