Suzuka 8 Hours prep gets underway
The run-up to the Suzuka 8 Hours started today with a first round of additional testing. The big-name teams are already in command, led by Yamaha Factory Racing Team.
Three rounds of additional tests have been organized at Suzuka today (Thursday) to enable the 64 competing teams to size up the track. While some squads are doing their maiden run on the 5,821-m circuit, the favourites are already crossing swords in the lead.
Yamaha Factory Racing Team have already surged into the lead, setting a fast-paced 2:07.853 lap to reaffirm their focus on picking up a fourth consecutive win with riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark. Teluru MotoUp RT (Kosuke Akiyoshi, Tetsuta Nagashima and Isaac Viñales) placed themselves among the challengers to watch by setting the second-fastest lap, a 2:08.515, ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing and Kawasaki Team Green.
5th-quickest of this first session (2:09.115), F.C.C. TSR Honda France is soldiering on with a single objective in mind: the 2017-2018 FIM EWC title. Currently on top of the provisional standings, the entire team is focused on that one goal. “We won’t be going on the attack to get the race win,” says the Honda #5 rider Freddy Foray. “Our brief is to race for the title.”
F.C.C. TSR Honda France proved faster than two Japanese Honda squads, Team HRC and Moriwaki Motul Racing. YART Yamaha and GMT94 Yamaha were neck and neck in 11th and 12th place respectively.
Two more test sessions are scheduled to take place at Suzuka this afternoon.