Team Suzuki Press Office – July 28.
#12 YOSHIMURA SUZUKI MOTUL RACING – 5th
#95 S-PULSE DREAM RACING·IAI – 6th
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing will start tomorrow’s Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance World Championship race from fifth position following today’s final qualifying, with S-Pulse Dream Racing IAI sixth after the usual Top-10 Trial was replaced because of an approaching typhoon.
The Top-10 Trial, where riders who qualified in the top 10 yesterday get the course all to themselves for a final-lap dash for ultimate lap times, but was replaced by a 40-minute additional qualifying session due to the unstable weather conditions. This session allowed each team to use only one bike but any rider within the 40 minutes.
The additional qualifying session took place from 15:30 with only the top-10 bikes on the course. Although it wasn’t the annual exciting top ten trial the crowd hoped for, this meant that only the prime bikes were out there and considering there where over 60 bikes out in yesterday’s qualifying, is turned out to be a fast and interesting session.
BSB rider Bradley Ray from Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Team marked 2 minutes 6 seconds .642 on his second lap putting Yoshimura in the lead. Soon afterwards many other teams started to put in respectable lap times and the session starts to get interesting. The Yoshimura team then switched riders to Takuya Tsuda hoping for a faster lap but he crashed at the chicane and was forced to stop half way through the session.
S-PULSE started the session with Kazuki Watanabe who managed to mark an impressive 2 minutes 7 seconds .781 on the single timed lap before changing to Tommy Bridewell. However, Bridewell was not able to better Kazuki’s time and Kazuki took over again for the last minutes of the session, clocking a stunning 2 minutes 6 seconds .756, putting him in sixth position.
#12 YOSHIMURA SUZUKI MOTUL RACING
“I was going to check the bike over once and then pit to change to fresh tyres for the attack, but I fell before the switch of the tyres and that was disappointing. Each rider has a different position for the shift pedal and I wasn’t comfortable with it on the course and missed a gear, resulting in the crash. When looking on the bright side, it’s a good thing it happened today and not tomorrow. We shall assess and adjust this issue and will be fully prepared for the race.”
“I was able to lap a second faster than yesterday so I’m very happy about that! I did all I could and pushed at my maximum. I’d like a little more confidence in the front end and the spinning of the rear tyre is a small issue when the tyres were, but Yoshimura is a highly professional team and I feel sure we’ll be able to deal with these problems. I hope to finish on the podium with this trustworthy team.”
Yohei Kato – Team Manager:
“We were on racing tyres, not the soft ones for the qualifying, so Bradley’s performance was impressive and pleasing. It was a pity that Tsuda crashed out without a chance to attack for a premium lap, but as I said yesterday, everything’s working as planned and we are very competitive. Tomorrow we shall not let the lap times of other teams distract us and will concentrate in doing our job well.”
#95 S-PULSE DREAM RACING·IAI
“With that sub 8-seconds promising lap yesterday, I hoped to do better today. However, we suffered a minor trouble while I was on a flying lap and my finger was aching from yesterday’s spill too so I decided to take it easy with tomorrow in mind. This was a slight disappointment but Kazuki was able to do well instead so it worked out well and I’m happy for the team. All three riders have a constant pace so we are sure to be successful tomorrow.”
“The first attack was on race tyres and was just a conformation session, but the second attack was on softer qualifying tyres and I was able to push at 105%. I was close to crashing three times on that lap but managed to round it up, fully bringing out the potential of the GSX-R. The team was happy for me and I am now motivated for tomorrow.”
Shirou Yoshida – Team Manager:
“Although Tommy seemed to be suffering from his injured finger, both riders rode hard and well. Especially Kazuki’s lap was exciting and moving for the team. The team’s in a good mood and we hope to keep spirits high for tomorrows race.”
The 41st Suzuka 8 Hours will be flagged off at 11.30am local time (GMT+9) this Sunday, with a night-time finish scheduled for 7.30pm.