Suzuka 8 Hours: The manufacturers’ view
The FIM EWC is one of the few international championships in which teams are free to choose their tyres. Which means the Suzuka 8 Hours will also be a battle of three tyre heavyweights: Bridgestone, Dunlop and Pirelli.
The Suzuka 8 Hours is distinctive in that Japanese manufacturer Bridgestone is particularly well represented as compared to Dunlop and Pirelli, the two dominant brands of the past few FIM EWC seasons. Being on home territory, Bridgestone will make it a point of honour to ensure its top teams shine. So the manufacturers will be fighting a battle of their own at Suzuka.
Hiroshi Yamada, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Japan
“The Suzuka 8 Hours is very special race and one of the biggest events for Bridgestone, because it’s a legendary and very popular race in Japan. We have won all 11 editions of the Suzuka 8 Hours since 2006. There are 31 Bridgestone-equipped teams at this year’s race. We’ll be supplying 2,000 prototype tyres and roughly 1,000 tyres to our customers.
The 2017 edition is special because it’s the 40th anniversary of the race, and of course the EWC finale. We’ll be doing our utmost to get another victory, and ideally we’d like to see three teams with Bridgestone caps on the podium after the race!”
James Bailey, Head of PR & Communication, Dunlop
“The FIM Endurance World Championship is a genuine proving ground for Dunlop’s tyres. The distances achieved in EWC are a great test of durability and reward tyres which perform consistently throughout the race.
Dunlop has a long and proud association with EWC, being the most successful tyre manufacturer in the history of the series. Our win with Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) in the 2016 championship title was the eleventh title won by the SERT/Dunlop combination and Dunlop’s 16th overall EWC championship win since 1994.
Suzuka brings its own unique challenges. The long corners, the variety of cambers and inclines provide a stern test for riders, tyres and bikes. This, combined with notoriously variable weather conditions can make for an exciting race. Despite the undoubted prestige of the race (comparable to Bol d’Or and Le Mans as an individual iconic event), this year our focus in the Suzuka 8 Hours is to build on that unrivalled championship success. With both GMT94 Yamaha and SERT in contention for the championship, it is our priority to treat our teams equally in the tense title fight.”
Davide Gerosa, Product & Business Development Manager, Pirelli Moto Racing
“Endurance for Pirelli is doubly important: it’s a proving ground for the specifications approved and developed in both the World SBK Championship and the national championships. The development of part of the range is in charge to Endurance. Races during the night and day, in cold conditions and warm situations, are the last step to confirm a specification before selling on the market.
All the development and testing we do during the season is possible thanks to our partners who have raced with Pirelli for a long time: Bolliger for more than 15 years; SRC Kawasaki, five-time winner of the 24 Heures Motos and four-time winner of the Bol d’Or with Pirelli, and new partners like Moriwaki in Japan.
This is our first year with Moriwaki and we are very happy to be partnering them to help their comeback at the All Japan SBK and in the 2017 Suzuka 8 Hours.
Japan has very different conditions from Europe, and this gives us a chance to develop our tyres in a very important market with a strong partner. We are working hard to help our partner achieve the best possible result.”