@YOSHIMURA #SUZUKI ON POLE WITH RECORD LAP!
Team Suzuki Press Office – July 26.
Yoshimura Suzuki will start from Pole Position in tomorrow’s 37th Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8-Hour World Endurance Championship second round in Japan after recording the fastest-ever Top-10 Time Trial lap in the history of the event.
Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance team rider Takuya Tsuda – who was paired with fellow Suzuki MotoGP Test Team rider Randy De Puniet – set a blistering time of 2’06.703 around the 5.821km circuit on the #34 GSX-R1000 beating the previous record of 2’06.817 set by Monster Energy Yamaha’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga in 2012.
A total of 20 riders took part in this afternoon’s Top-10 Trial – two nominated team riders from yesterday 10 fastest qualifiers – as Nakasuga, paired with Australian Josh Brookes, set a lap of 2’07.094 to claim second place on the grid.
Suzuki’s Team Kagayama and Verity secured sixth place on the grid as Yukio Kagayama and young Swiss team-mate Dominique Aegerter raced their GSX-R1000 to a best lap of 2’08.483 and bettering their lap time from yesterday’s qualifying result. The #12 Legend of Yoshimura Shell Advance team round-out the top-10; former World 500cc GP Champion Kevin Schwantz and Suzuki MotoGP Test Team rider Nobuatsu Aoki recording a time of 2’09.775 on their GSX-R1000.
After setting his Suzuka record, a delighted Tsuda said: “I am very happy with getting the Pole Position and getting the best time. This is my first challenge in the Top-10 Trial and the result is better than I imagined.”
Team-mate De Puniet, who clocked the highest speed of 288 km/h through the speed-trap, said: “Suzuka is very nice track to race on, but I am not really satisfied with my performance today. But Takuya put-in a great time, so I hope we can have a wonderful race in tomorrow.”
Third team rider Josh Waters supported Tsuda and De Puniet from the sidelines. The Tyco Suzuki British Superbike Championship rider said: “I think our team has made great steps from yesterday. It is going to be a very tough race tomorrow against some strong teams and in very hot race conditions, but I am sure that we will put-on our best performance possible.”
At an event where Yoshimura is celebrating its 60th Anniversary and with Suzuki Motor Corporation having a strong presence to support both their factory-riders and others teams, the #12 Legend of Yoshimura’s Schwantz remains optimistic about tomorrow, after improving his lap-time by more-than a second from yesterday.
He said: “I am very happy with my lap time today; it’s my best lap of the weekend so far. In the morning session, the team did some modifications and tuning and I got a great lap time, although I made some mistakes. I am here to do real competition and ride hard; it’s not just for enjoyment. I really appreciate the hard work and effort everyone in the team has put-in.”
Similarly, team-mate Aoki also went faster than yesterday and posted a lap of 2’09.775.
Team Kagayama’s Aegerter also improved his time, posting a 2’08.483 lap to put them sixth on the grid, although Kagayama could not beat his Friday time after running-wide on a corner and making a few mistakes.
Said Kagayama: “Noriyuki (Haga) and myself are setting-up the bike for the whole team. We’ve tried to make it to suit Dominique’s riding style and he’s riding really well, considering his lack of experience in these types of events. In the Top-10 TriaI I tried to push hard but I made a small mistake at the Spoon corner. I was pretty disappointed, but we are aiming for the Best Privateer prize tomorrow.”
Aegerter said: “For me everything is new; there’s lots of bikes are on the track, the qualifying tyres only last for one lap and it was very difficult for me to use it perfectly, but it wasn’t such a bad lap-time. However, compared to the top times, it’s not good enough. The important thing tomorrow is to do consistent laps in the race. I am very excited and I’m having a great time with two experienced and great riders. I’m learning a lot from Noriyuki and Yukio and I’d like to thank the team for this great opportunity.”
Reigning World Endurance Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) just missed-out on a place in the Top-10 trial, but the 13-time champions – despite missing it’s kingpin rider Vincent Philippe – is optimistic of a good result; and has great experience, knowledge and consistency in Anthony Delhalle, Erwan Nigon and stand-in rider Damian Cudlin.
Said Delhalle: “Compared to the recent Suzuka test, the conditions were very tough yesterday with the heat and high humidity. Qualifying wasn’t so bad for me but the Japanese riders have more experience racing in these conditions and can push harder. We finished 13th but we are confident we can push more and be stronger in the race.”
Said Nigon: “I’m not really satisfied with qualifying time, but the GSX-R is good and we have found the fastest setting’s for the race. The weather conditions are very different to last week, but I’m confident for the race tomorrow. We will push ourselves to the limit.”
Cudlin added: “I am a replacement for Vincent, he is the great rider and it’s very disappointed that he is not here for Suzuki, but it is very good opportunity for me, although I feel a little pressure. I will do my very best and I hope to be a valuable member of the team.”
The 37th edition of the Suzuka 8-Hours – which sees a maximum number of 70 teams on the grid - will get underway at 11.30hrs (GMT +9) with the finish due at 19.30hrs.
Top-10 Time Trial Results: 1 YOSHIMURA SUZUKI Shell ADVANCE (Suzuki GSX-R1000) – Takuya Tsuda, Randy De Puniet – 2’06.703, 2 Monster Energy Yamaha (Yamaha) 2’07.094, 3 FCC TSR Honda (Honda) 2’07.398, 4 Team GREEN (Kawasaki) 2’07.752, 5 MuSASHI RT HARC-PRO (Honda) 2’07.827, 6 TEAM KAGAYAMA and Verity (Suzuki GSX-R1000) – Dominique Aegerter, Yukio Kagayama – 2’08.483, 7 8 Honda Suzuka Racing Team (Honda) 2’08.976, 8 Honda Endurance Racing (Honda) 2’09.224, 9 TOHO Racing with MORIWAKI (Honda) 2’09.383, 10 Legend of YOSHIMURA SUZUKI Shell ADVANCE (Suzuki GSX-R1000) – Kevin Schwantz, Nobuatsu Aoki – 2’09.775.