Red Bull Honda make strong showing in first Suzuka test
Japanese team Red Bull Honda set a blistering pace at Suzuka on the very first day of testing for the Suzuka 8 Hours with a 2:05.939 lap, ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing Team and F.C.C. TSR Honda France.
Honda is clearly determined to wrest back control at Suzuka. Red Bull Honda set a 2:05.939 best lap on Day 1 of the 3-day official test at Suzuka, nearly matching the 2:05.168 lap record set by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) in qualifying in 2018. Most importantly, Red Bull Honda considerably upped their own performance from their 2018 best lap, a 2:06.127 in the Top10 Trial.
Red Bull Honda were the only team to come in under the 2:05 mark at Suzuka today, ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing Team (2:06.442), winners of the last four editions of the Suzuka 8 Hours.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France among the three leaders
F.C.C. TSR Honda France posted the third-fastest time of the day, a 2:06.911. The FIM EWC reigning champions thereby boosted their hopes of winning a second consecutive title in front of a home crowd at the Suzuka 8 Hours grand finale.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France were quicker than Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda, YART Yamaha and Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing.
In the absence of one of the favourites, Kawasaki Racing Team (who are racing a FIM Superbike championship round at Laguna Seca), these tests will not throw up a full overview of the strongest contenders. We’ll have to wait for the Wednesday 24 July tests to see all the teams do battle on the track.
FIM Endurance World Championship standings leader Team SRC Kawasaki France are not taking part in the tests either.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who are second in the standings, are using the tests at Suzuka to confirm their choice of Dunlop tyres. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team posted a 2:10.252 on the first day.
Top 6 on Day 1 of Suzuka 8 Hours tests
Red Bull Honda – 2:05.939
Yamaha Factory Racing Team – 2:06.442
F.C.C. TSR Honda France – 2:06.911
Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda – 2:07.118
YART Yamaha – 2:08.338
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing – 2:08.372
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – 2:10.252