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First Yamaha win at Suzuka since 1996

Published: 26 July 2015

Updated: 26 July 2015

Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaro and Katsuyuki Nakasuga gave Yamaha their first Suzuka 8 Hours victory since 1996 after a superb race in Japan this morning.

The Tech3 teammates partnered Yamaha factory test rider and Japanese championship rider Nakasuga to a dominant win that saw them take the flag over one minute ahead of the their nearest pursuers despite a mid race 30s stop and go penalty. Smith took the YZR-R1 to the flag having been handed the bike with less than 30 minutes remaining.

The runner-up spot went to the TSR Honda of Moto2 star Dominique Aegerter, Josh Hook and Kyle Smith with the all-star Team Kagayama squad of Yukio Kagayama, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Noriyuki Haga completing the podium.

The race started badly for the team with Nakasuga making a poor start and falling down the field with Alex Lowes leading the opening tour and the first hour before handing over to his Suzuka teammates.

At the first round of stops Casey Stoner took to the track on his Honda and was in the thick of the fight at the front but a crash after a stuck throttle left him nursing a broken scapula and a fractured tibia from his racing return.

The race was punctuated with safety cars with the final stages seeing the race go green with only eight minutes to go. Despite holding a comfortable lead Smith rode aggressively and decisively through the traffic and to take the flag and a famous win for Yamaha.

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