Yamaha Factory on provisional pole
Yamaha Factory Racing Team, the winners of the past four editions of the Suzuka 8 Hours, are already taking up their positon as the favourites. The Japanese team were fastest in the first qualifying session, ahead of Kawasaki Racing Team and Red Bull Honda.
The average of their riders’ best lap times took Yamaha Factory Racing Team to provisional pole at the Suzuka 8 Hours. Katsuyuki Nakasuga posted the day’s fastest lap, a 2:05.922, in the saddle of the Yamaha #21, alongside teammates Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark.
Kawasaki Racing Team took second place on the provisional grid thanks to the consistency of their riders. Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu’s lap times were within a tight range of 2:06.495 to 2:06.963.
Red Bull Honda (Takumi Takahashi, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Stefan Bradl) are in third place, ahead of Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda and Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing. Reigning champions F.C.C. TSR Honda France placed 6th and will continue their bid to score the maximum number of points to catch up in the 2018-2019 FIM EWC championship standings: bonus points (from 5 points down to 1 point) are given to the top five teams on the starting grid.
Final grid positions will be attributed after Saturday’s Top 10 Trial, the Superpole for the 10 fastest teams in qualifying.
On the provisional grid following the first session against the clock, YART Yamaha are in 7th place thanks to a particularly strong performance by Niccolò Canepa (a 2:06.672 lap) together with teammates Broc Parkes and Marvin Fritz.
In 13th place, VRD Igol Pierret Expériences once again proved to be the best rookie team at Suzuka. Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Xavier Simeon were faster than two other FIM EWC teams, both in the running for the 2018-2019 world title. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and Team SRC Kawasaki France were 15th and 16th respectively. Honda Endurance Racing placed 22nd on the grid.
The second qualifying session takes place this afternoon at Suzuka.