Team Suzuki Press Office – July 29.
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul – 2nd.
Team KAGAYAMA – 9th.
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul will start tomorrow’s Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance World Championship final round in second place following today’s grid-deciding Top-10 Time Trial at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
Following a morning thunderstorm at the 40th Anniversary Coca-Cola-sponsored event, Takuya Tsuda put the team’s new GSX-R1000 into second place with a time of 2’06.382 as Team KAGAYAMA’s Hafizh Syahrin scored ninth with a lap of 2’08.616.
Current World Champions and series leaders, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, will start tomorrow from 22nd position after missing-out on today’s final shakedown. SERT will start a few places behind closest series rivals, GMT94, who are in 15th position and one point behind SERT in the standings.
In the initial sessions today – and in typical Suzuka 8 Hours hot weather – some riders crashed including #71 Team KAGAYAMA’s Naomichi Uramoto and #95 S-Pulse Dream Racing-IAI rider Marcel Schrotter. Both riders were not injured and there was no major damage done to the bikes in a session where the #12 Yoshimura Suzuki scored second (2’07.847).
In the final qualifying session, the Top 10 Time Trial, #71 Yukio Kagayama ran fourth, but a rear tyre issue at Spoon Corner saw the bike wobble massively, although he still scored second with a lap of 2’08.926. Team-mate Hafizh Syahrin completed his first top-10 trial improving this with a lap of 2’08.616.
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul’s #12 Sylvain Guintoli started as fourth fastest and expecting a substantial time improvement, but he slipped-off at the chicane and did not record his time. Tsuda was up next and shaved-off precious seconds, putting the team second in the rankings.
“Today’s top-10 trial showed the speed of individuals and it became a place to highlight the high technology of the team and the speed of the new GSX-R1000 to the world. I am satisfied that I can do my best. However, tomorrow it will be a race where teams will work together. The team has been doing tests so far with the aim of winning the race. Today’s qualifying was also a show element, but tomorrow is the real race. The three riders in our team have a strong pace, so I’d like to confidently face the race.”
“Today was really interesting time-attack and I thought that there was a challenge. I felt that I could do all my own while riding. Today I did it a bit too much (laughs), but the machine is very stable and I think that qualifying today was good. Right now, I am very looking forward to the final race tomorrow.”
“I spent a lot of time setting up my bike for the race, so I did not have enough settings to fit the top 10 trial tyre. To be honest, I wanted to run with the top 10 trial tyres during the free practice this morning but due to time’s reason Hafizh used it a bit and I could not match it. I feel sorry for him. However, preparations for the final are finished to a considerable level, so I’m looking forward to it.”
“The first endurance race resulted in a very good machine finish, and today’s top 10 trials have been enjoyable as well. However, it is regrettable that I had a high-side where I entered the first corner and I was not able to raise the time as a result.”
KEVIN SCHWANTZ JOINS SUZUKI’S SPECIAL EVENTS
Various events were held at Suzuki’s booth from Saturday morning and former Suzuki World GP Champion Kevin Schwantz joined in the fun to meet the fans.
He appeared as a special guest in the group photo shoot of the Suzuka Talk Show along with Suzuki’s main team riders and was welcomed by the many race fans, talked about the new Suzuki GSX-R1000, saying: “It’s a wonderful machine and I’d like to have many people enjoy this Superbike favourite.”