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#1 Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:53 pm



Team Suzuki Press Office – July 31.

Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance took third place in today’s 39th Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8-Hour World Endurance Championship round in Japan after an exciting battle that saw just a handful of seconds separate them from the second-step of the podium after a total of 218 laps of drama-packed action.

Team riders Takuya Tsuda, Nori Haga and Josh Brookes were just over 10 seconds behind race-long rivals Team Green; that saw Haga locked-in an incredible dice for second with Leon Haslam at mid-race distance where the lead change several times per lap once the pair got into backmarkers.

Japan’s most-prestigious motorcycle event saw three Suzuki GSX-R1000-mounted teams in the top-10: Moto Map SUPPLY riders Nobuatsu Aoki, Josh Waters and Yoshihiro Konno scored an impressive fifth position; and Team KAGAYAMA Suzuki’s Yukio Kagayama, Naomichi Uramoto and Ryuichi Kiyonari sixth place; both having suffered issues during the race.

Reigning World Endurance Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) were unlucky not to score points after an enforced penalty, capped-off with a high-speed crash early-on in the event, but fought back from 48th to 22nd and still hold fourth in the series, just nine points off the championship lead, which is still held by Suzuki GSX-R1000-mounted Team April Moto Motors Events (Gregg Black, Gregory Fastre and Alex Cudlin) – who scored two points in 19th position with a total of 208 laps.

The start at 11:30am local time under 28 degrees (air) and 37 degrees (track) temperatures saw two Suzuki’s in the lead: #17 Ryuichi Kiyonari got a perfect start for Team KAGAYAMA and finished the first lap leading #12 Tsuda on the Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance GSX-R1000.

Kiyonari kept his lead until the 18th lap when the eventual race winners Yamaha Factory Racing took over at the front. Kiyonari pitted on lap 26 and handed over to Kagayama, but a problem changing the tyre cost the team dearly and they dropped down to sixth.

With Yoshimura Suzuki holding third, SERT was given a ‘stop-and-go’ penalty for an alleged jump-start, so had to do a ride-through; and then the 14-time World Champions suffered a high-speed crash trying to make-up the time, when Philippe swerved to avoid another rider, but he picked-up his GSX-R1000 and rode back to the pits with a very damaged machine, complete with a punctured rear tyre; dropping down 48th position, but earning the applause of the fans for the team’s super-quick efficient repair to send rider and machine back-out on track.

Problems also hit the Kagayama Suzuki team on the 52nd lap when a problem with the front tyre forced Kagayama to have an extra pit-stop; again dropping the team down the leaderboard, but in the coming hours, they fought back heroically.

With 30 minutes to go, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brookes held third, Moto Map SUPPLY’s Waters fifth, Kagayama – riding some impressive lap-times - seventh; and SERT’s Philippe 26th. Kagayama excelled in the closing moments as darkness fell, to move up another position; and SERT also reeled-off another four positions. Ultimately, they scored no championship points but kept the team’s 2016 World Championship – a potential 15th – alive with such a determined effort.

With the final race of the season taking place in Germany on August 27th for the Oschersleben 8 Hours, just 17 points separate the top-seven teams; and 35 points are available to the winner.
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