Jonathan Rea powered his Honda to the lowest lap time in Thursday’s free practice in preparation for Sunday’s Suzuka 8 Hours World Endurance race.
The 23-year old Irishman recorded a time of two minutes, 8.789 seconds during the hottest of the two hour-long sessions.
“I set a target of doing a seven, or a very low eight. But it’s just the first day and we are not start thinking about lap times. We are just trying to find a good compromise with setting with Akiyoshi-san. For tomorrow we’ve got a good direction to go with the bike and the tires.”
Second best was Ryichi Kiyonari, also on a Honda, with a time of two minutes, 9.458 seconds, and eager to go even faster.
“I’m not happy. We are trying different settings from the last test, and a different front fork. It is still Showa. Now the setting is okay, it’s good.”
Third fastest was the Yoshimura Suzuki, with Yukio Kagayama riding through the pain from his right-hand broken in a crash at Mallory Park round of the British Superbike championship almost a month ago. The genuinely please Japanese rider’s best time was two minutes, 9.764 seconds.
“Today is the first time I rode the Yoshimura Suzuki. Aoki-san and Sakai-san are already testing a lot. Yes, sure, I was injured four weeks ago. The team decided for today to just run Yukio for get some understanding of the bike. So the other two riders, not many laps today.”
The next four teams were all on Hondas, followed b y a Suzuki at two minutes, 12 seconds flat.
Yamaha France GMT-94 were ninth overall and best of the World Endurance championship contending teams.
Qualifying takes place on Friday, followed by Superpole on Saturday and the race on Sunday.
1 F.C.C. TSR Honda (K.Akiyoshi/J.Rea/Y.Takahashi), 2:08.789, Honda.
2 Musashi RT HARC-PRO (R.Kiyonari/T.takahashi/T.Nakagami), 2:09.458, Honda.
3 Yoshimura Suzuki with Enos (Y.Kagayama/D.Sakai/N.Aoki), 2:09.764, Suzuki.
4 Keihin Kohara Racing (S.Ito/M.Tamada), 2:10.015, Honda.
5 Dream RT Sakurai Honda (C.Kameya/W.Maxwell), 2:10.929, Honda.
6 Team Plus One (S.Iwata/Y.Teshima), 2:11.805, Honda.
7 Crown Keibibhosyou Racing (T.Hamaguchi/K.Kitaguchi/S.Tani), 2:11.886, Honda.
8 Plot Faro Panthera (O.Deguchi/T.Yasuda/Y.Kodama), 2:12.088, Suzuki.
9 Yamaha France GMT-94 Ipone (D.Checa/D.Cudlin/K.Foray), 2:12.431, Yamaha.
10 Teluru Honeybee Racing (H.Noda/t.sekiguchi), 2:12.804, Honda.