Yamaha targets fourth win
After three wins in a row at the Suzuka 8 Hours, Yamaha is now targeting a fourth consecutive victory. Yamaha Factory Racing Team is already ahead of the game, and thirteen other teams on YZF-R1s are revving up to put the tuning fork logo front and centre at Suzuka.
With an unbeaten stretch at Suzuka dating back to 2015, Yamaha Factory Racing Team is gearing up to take another victory. Yamaha has tasked last year’s winning trio – Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark – with reconquering the top step of the podium. Their performance in the just-concluded official tests at Suzuka has already given the squad a head start. A fourth consecutive win would enshrine Katsuyuki Nakasuga’s name in the annals of the Suzuka 8 Hours by beating his own record of three wins in a row: a feat achieved by only one other rider, Aaron Slight, who won the race in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
As it has done every year for the past three years, Yamaha Factory Racing Team will be aiming to start from pole, with a trio of experienced riders in fine form. Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes are also teammates in the FIM Superbike championship (they are currently 3rd and 6th respectively in the provisional standings), while Katsuyuki Nakasuga dominates Japan’s JSB1000 championship.
YART Yamaha seeks Top 5 finish
YART Yamaha, another of the brand’s front-runners, is Bridgestone-shod like Yamaha Factory Racing Team, and its riders enjoy racing at Suzuka. Having featured in the Top 10 in qualifying and in the Top 5 at the finish over the past two years, the Austrian team is counting on riders Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Takuya Fujita to once again achieve an excellent result.
GMT94 Yamaha on title hunt
FIM EWC reigning champion GMT94 Yamaha is additionally seeking to beat Japanese team F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who get to Suzuka with a 10-point lead in the championship standings. David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Mike Di Meglio will have to vanquish the Honda #5 on their Dunlop-shod Yamaha #94 in order to hold on to the world title.
20th anniversary of the Yamaha YZF-R1
All three Yamaha factory teams will be easy to spot on the track, as their bikes will sport the special red and white livery Yamaha has created to mark the 20th anniversary of the YZF-R1.
Two FIM EWC full-season squads will join the armada of Japanese privateer teams flying the Yamaha flag at Suzuka. German team Motobox Kremer Racing has lined up on the grid of the Suzuka 8 Hours since 2013 and finished the race every year, while Polish squad Wójcik Racing Team is making its Suzuka debut.