Yamaha Factory on the offensive from the get-go
Yamaha Factory Racing Team took command of proceedings from the first qualifying at the Suzuka 8 Hours this morning, and is already in top spot on the provisional grid.
Although a thin drizzle had caused some disruption during free practice, the day’s first qualifying got off to a fast-paced start on a dry track.
Yamaha Factory Racing Team cranked up the pressure on its rivals from the outset. Two of the squad’s three riders, Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Alex Lowes, completed a lap in under 2’07. The average of their best lap times, together with Michael van der Mark’s, put Yamaha Factory Racing Team on provisional pole. The Japanese factory Yamaha was less than half a second faster than Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing with Takuya Tsuda, who set a 2’06.929 fastest lap, Sylvain Guintoli and Josh Brookes and Kawasaki Team Green’s Kazuma Watanabe, Leon Haslam and Azlan Shah Bin Kamaruzaman.
Musashi RT Harc-Pro was close behind with riders Takumi Takahashi, Jack Miller and Takaaki Nakagami, ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda’s Dominique Aegerter, Randy de Puniet and Josh Hook.
Of the teams in the running for the FIM EWC 2016-2017 title, YART Yamaha Official EWC Team picked up a handsome 6th on the provisional grid, while GMT94 Yamaha and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team are currently sitting beyond 10th place.
The second qualifying will take place this afternoon at Suzuka. Post-qualifying, only the ten timesheet toppers will be invited to take part in Saturday’s Top Ten Trial. This Superpole over one flying lap is open to two riders in each of the top ten teams. It will re-allocate the first ten spots on the starting grid based on the fastest individual lap of one rider per team.
The 2016-2017 FIM EWC grand finale, the 40th anniversary of the Suzuka 8 Hours, will be flagged off Sunday at 11.30am local time (GMT + 9).