Yoshimura Suzuki dominates first test at Suzuka
Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance dominated the first Suzuka 8 Hours test ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda. But we’ll have to wait for the second test on 13 and 14 July to see last year’s Suzuka 8 Hours winner Yamaha Factory Racing Team on the track.
Two of Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance’s 2016 riders, Takuya Tsuda and Noriyuki Haga, recorded the two fastest laps (2’07.479 and 2’07.796) at the first Suzuka 8 Hours test. Australian Josh Brookes will be the third rider for Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance.
So it looks like the factory Suzuki team – a consistent front-runner – is definitely aiming to win back the race. The last time Yoshimura Suzuki topped the Suzuka 8 Hours podium was in 2009.
F.C.C. TSR Honda, a contender for the FIM EWC 2016 title, turned in the second-fastest performance of the tests with a 2’08.224 lap despite a spectacular crash by Dominique Aegerter, who will be teaming up with Kazuma Watanabe and American rider Patrick Jacobsen. The Toho Racing (Honda) squad came in ahead of Kawasaki’s factory Team Green, Team Kagayama (Suzuki) – a fixture on the Suzuka 8 Hours podium since 2013 – and Musashi RT Harc-Pro (Honda), the 2013 and 2014 race winner.
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team also had a satisfactory first 2016 outing at Suzuka, with a best lap time of 2’08.841.
The first official tests provided a revealing – but incomplete – glimpse of the forces to be reckoned with at the 39th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours. The second test on the Suzuka circuit, to be held on 13 and 14 July, will feature Yamaha Factory Racing Team, winner of the Suzuka 8 Hours in 2015. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and GMT94 Yamaha, two likely candidates for the FIM EWC 2016 title, will also make an appearance on the track. F.C.C. TSR Honda and YART Yamaha Official EWC Team will be back for the second test.
The 39th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours will take place in Japan on 31 July.