YOSHIMURA SUZUKI 2ND IN SUZUKA 8 HOURS QUALIFYING
Team Suzuki Press Office – July 28.
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul – 2nd
Team KAGAYAMA – 7th
SERT – 22nd
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli, Josh Brookes and Takuya Tsuda put the new 2017 GSX-R1000 into second place during today’s qualifying sessions for Sunday’s Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance World Championship final round at Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
This gives the team entry into tomorrow’s Top-10 Time Trial to determine the final starting positions for Sunday’s 40th Anniversary Coca-Cola race alongside Team KAGAYAMA, who with Naomichi Uramoto, Hafizh Syahrin and Yukio Kagayama, put their new GSX-R1000 into seventh position.
World Championship series leaders Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) struggled a little during set-up – and another small crash today – and will start from 22nd position, although the team remains positive of fighting for a 16th world title when the flag drops.
After a cloudy start this morning, and with a sprinkling of rain that caused a short delay, conditions picked-up throughout the day.
In the opening Time Attack, Suzuki BSB rider Guintoli was fourth with a lap of 2’7.508, followed by Kagayama in ninth (2’8.901) and Australian SBK rider Josh Waters 10th aboard the MotoMap SUPPLY Future Access GSX-R1000 (2’8.972). SERT’s Vincent Philippe was down in 23rd (2’10.570).
The second session saw S-Pulse Dream Racing-IAI Suzuki’s Marcel Schrotter fourth (2’8.035) and Yoshimura Suzuki’s Josh Brookes sixth (2’8.134) while Yoshimura Suzuki Motul’s Tsuda topped the timesheets in the final session with a lap of 2’06.929.
Early in the afternoon’s second session, SERT’s Vincent Philippe crashed at the Digner corner, fortunately without injury or much damage to the machine. Guintoli scored second, Waters seventh and Kagayama 13th. However, Kagayama’s rider Syahrin upped his pace to score second in the following session ahead of Brookes in third as conditions continued to improve.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT)
“Suzuka is always difficult though. I had a hard time settling new tyres. I tried my favourite setting by my colleague, but I crashed. My body is all right and I am thinking positively for the final race. Because we are professional in endurance racing, I think that it will be pretty fast if it rains.”
It was a very difficult qualifying. The setting of the bike was not perfect, it was not a happy condition. We spent practice for the race during the time qualifying today. We did not have a qualifying tyre (due to limits on the amount EWC can use), so we tried several tyres with the same specifications as those for racing. I regret missing the top-10 trials tomorrow, as a rider, but the team was concentrating so that we could get good results in the race.”
“I think that I did not get any more time than I expected. I do not quite understand how the great seniors of the team run. The bike settings are quite different from the machine I normally ride, I thought it would be dangerous to run even faster, but it is considerably slower than my best time ever. However, the team worked hard for the race and I will try my best.”
YOSHIMURA SUZUKI MOTUL RACING:
“In the first qualifying, the tyres were new and the condition of the machine was also good, so I could do my best. In the second, I ran a used tyre for about 14 laps, I was aware of the latter half of the race stint and ran while looking at the state of the tyres and the machine was able to run very well. I think the machine is pretty finished.”
“The qualifying was very good. Everything went very well. The team have made a very fast bike. In the top 10 trial tomorrow, we aim to be even higher. I am looking forward to the race.”
“A little disappointingly, after the first lap of Q1 was over, my right knee hit the rough inside the corner and impacted my hip, which was painful. It was lucky that the pain was only for one lap and then it got better. I was lucky that I had a good result on the first lap and I think that it was a good day to contribute to the team. After that, following a long massage, everything is fine.”
“I got time to work out the part I had left behind in the preliminary test yesterday, using today’s session to give time. There are also tyre restrictions of 20 for qualification and the final. I am suffering how to use the tyres in qualifying. In this race, it is not just having fast riders, someone has to think about the balance of the whole team. I can do it with this team, and I can figure out how much time I can run in the finals if I run in qualifying. I fulfilled that role. We want to have a smile at the end. I think that preparations for that are progressing steadily.”
“I am comfortable running every session. In the flow from the 8 Hours Endurance race test recently, this afternoon’s qualifying time was the best and has given me confidence.”
“I have been invited to a proven team and I am able to enjoy this race. The backup of the team is also powerful, and Mr. Kagayama advised a lot and I got a very valuable experience.”
MotoMap SUPPLY FutureAccess
“Since we are not fighting all Japan as a team, we have set up in a short time of preliminary testing. But I am fighting with the same members as last year and I know the power of the team, so I am able to run with confidence.”
“It is finally a feeling that the motorcycle was settled by qualifying today. I had to summarize the motorcycle in the preliminary test, but once again I was able to do it, but I am relieved as I could do it today. The impression that the level is rising overall this year and a little mistake can lead to a big change in ranking. I think that we want to fully demonstrate the strength of the team we have accumulated so far and to fight hard and make a firm result.”
“I did not participate in the All Japan Championship this year and decided to concentrate on this 8-hour endurance race. Although it is difficult in time, three people set up a motorcycle with efforts together and I would like to do my best to get the strength of the team well done.”
S-Pulse Dream Racing·IAI
“There was a miscalculation that Marcel was injured during training, and the temperature did not rise so much yesterday and today, and I was chased by the correspondence. Still Alex has joined the team and has done a good job, so I have been helped a lot.”
“I was injured in the right arm during training last week, I inconvenienced the team and I am a bit disappointed because I was really looking forward to this race. However, everyone in the team, including Mr. Ogata, supported me and I was able to run qualifying happily. My arm is not perfect yet, but it’s okay.”
“It is a fact that I hurriedly joined the team and it is true that we have not enough time to prepare, but it has been helped by a great team, machine and teammate and I am very happy to race this weekend.”
Words: Shigeto Kawakami