Yamaha Factory dominates qualifying at Suzuka
The momentum of its two previous wins at the Suzuka 8 Hours, Yamaha Factory Racing Team gave the upper hand right from qualifying at the Suzuka 8 Hours. The Japanese factory Yamaha placed ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing and Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda.
However, the post-qualifying line-up is not the definitive starting grid, which will be decided after the Top 10 Trial – the superpole specific to Suzuka, to be launched tomorrow (Saturday) at 3.30pm local time (GMT + 9). The ten fastest teams after qualifying take part in the Top 10 Trial. Each team chooses two riders to do a flying lap. The fastest individual time clocked up will determine the order in which the riders line up on the starting grid.
Yamaha Factory Racing Team, which topped qualifying with Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, will start as favourite, having set two of the day’s fastest laps: 2’06.405 (Lowes) and 2’06.779 (Nakasuga).
They are ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli, Josh Brookes and Takuya Tsuda, with Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda’s Takumi Takahashi, Jack Miller and Takaaki Nakagami close behind.
Kawasaki Team Green, F.C.C. TSR Honda, YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Team Kagayama, Moriwaki Motul Racing, Honda Suzuka Racing Team and Satu Hati Honda Team Asia also scored a place in the Top 10 Trial.
The grid remains unchanged from 11th place: occupied by S-Pulse Dream Racing IAI with Hideyuki Ogata, Moto2 rider Marcel Schrotter and Alex Cudlin, on loan from Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.
Among the teams in the running for the 2016-2017 FIM EWC world title, YART Yamaha Official EWC Team is the best placed in the Top 10. GMT94 Yamaha will start from 15th place on the grid, and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team from 22nd.
Five other European teams are up against the Japanese squads: Honda Endurance Racing, Bolliger Team Switzerland, EKO IV Racing BMW CSEU, Team Rabid Transit and Motobox Kremer Racing.
In all, 68 teams will be at the start of the 2016-2017 FIM EWC grand finale, the 40th anniversary of the Suzuka 8 Hours, at 11.30am local time on Sunday.