Kawasaki Factory at the Suzuka 8 Hours
Kawasaki will enter a KRT (Kawasaki Racing Team) bike in the Suzuka 8 Hours this July. The goal is a Kawasaki win after three years on the Suzuka podium with Kawasaki Team Green.
Yamaha Factory Racing Team are being hemmed in. After Honda’s return with an HRC factory team last year, Kawasaki will enter a factory bike in the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours.
The objective of both manufacturers is to block the progress of Yamaha, winners of the last four editions of the Suzuka race.
Kawasaki Racing Team have entrusted the mission to the cream of their FIM Superbike championship crop: British racers Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam and Turkish rider Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Jonathan Rea has been crowned Superbike world champion four times in a row and was second runner-up at the 2018 Suzuka 8 Hours with Kawasaki Team Green. He also set a new record lap in qualifying: a 2:05.168.
Leon Haslam, the 2018 BSB (British Superbike) champion, has tasted podium success thrice at Suzuka with Team Green (2nd in 2016 and 2017, 3rd in 2018). Haslam has also won the Suzuka 8 Hours, in 2013 and 2014, on Musashi RT Harc-Pro’s Honda.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, 22, finished 9th in the 2018 World Superbike championship after racing the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup in 2016 and 2017. He will be making his Suzuka debut.
Kawasaki’s sole victory at the Suzuka 8 Hours dates back to 1993 – the 16th edition, where Scott Russell and Aaron Slight got the win for Itoh Ham Racing Kawasaki.