Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team was on top form during Second Qualifying for the 44th Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race with Niccolò Canepa, Marvin Fritz and Karel Hanika going fastest in the Blue, Yellow and Red Rider sessions respectively.
A summary of how Second Qualifying unfolded appears below, while confirmation of the 10 teams who will take part in the Top 10 Trial this afternoon will follow.
After almost colliding with Kosuke Akiyoshi at the First Curve in the opening moments of the Blue Rider session, Niccolò Canepa demoted Tetsuta Nagashima for top spot with seven minutes to run. The Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team rider’s 2m05.948s was 0.287s faster than his Team HRC with Japan Post rival’s best effort as Ryo Mizuno completed the top three for Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing, 0.782s down on Canepa. Gregg Black set the fourth fastest time for Suzuki-powered Yoshimura SERT Motul with Naomichi Uromoto completing the top five for SDG Honda Racing. BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s Markus Reiterberger crashed at the Second Curve in the closing moments, while Reitoku Kurogi dropped his GOSHI Racing Honda at the Hairpin earlier in the session.
Yoshimura SERT Motul Suzuki rider Sylvain Guintoli’s 2m06.283s was the time to beat until Marvin Fritz stepped up with a 2m05.857s effort with a little more than five minutes of the Yellow Rider session remaining. He then lowered his standard to 2m05.845s on his very next run, a performance that meant Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team continued its time-topping sequence following Niccolò Canepa’s heroics in the earlier Blue Rider group. Daijiro Hiura was third quickest for Honda Dream RT Sakurai Honda followed by Kengo Nagao on Team Kodama’s Yamaha. Takumi Takahashi completed the top five for Team HRC with Japan Post.
Karel Hanika made it a Second Qualifying clean sweep for Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team by going fastest in the Rider Session. The Czech recorded a best lap of 2m05.870s, a full 1.072s quicker than the time recorded by runner-up Ikuhiro Enokido on TOHO Racing’s #104 Honda. World Superbike ace Xavi Vierge was third quickest for Team HRC with Japan Post on his EWC debut as Marcel Schrötter went fourth fastest for the Suzuki-powered S-PLUSE DREAM RACING -ITEC outfit followed by Haruki Noguchi for SDG Honda Racing. Tarran Mackenzie, a late replacement for Josh Hook at F.C.C. TSR Honda France, crashed at the ‘S’ Curves but was able to rejoin, as was Bastien Mackels, who dropped his KM99 Yamaha at the Second Curve.