The factory supported Yoshimura Suzuki team of Takuya Tsuda and Nori Haga have topped the first three days of testing for this year’s Suzuka 8 Hour. The duo finished final day of the test almost half a second ahead of second-placed FCC TSR Honda.
Set to be joined for the second official test next week by teammate Josh Brookes, currently on World Superbike duty at Laguna Seca, Suzuki MotoGP test rider Tsuda was nonetheless delighted to be lining up alongside one of his childhood heroes for the first time.
“When I was young, I was wearing a ‘Haga’ replica helmet, as I was a big fan, and I never expected that I would race with him as a team-mate. So I am so happy and really motivated!
“The test was really good and our set-up went well, but I am still not satisfied with my result today and I will push more. Of course one fast lap is important to get the top grid-position, but we have to race for eight hours and I have to keep a good pace during my stint.
“Nori is very experienced and there are so many things to learn from him, and I am really happy for the opportunity. Josh is also nice guy and I am sure he has no problem with our bike, so I am looking forward to the next test.”
The FCC TSR squad sees former MCE British Superbike podium finisher PJ Jacobsen alongside Kazuma Watanabe and Moto2 front-runner Dominique Aegerter, finishing ahead of the satellite Toho Honda squad with Gino Rea onboard.
There was also BSB interest in fifth and sixth, with Leon Haslam and Team Green Kawasaki leading Ryuichi Kiyonari and Yuki Kagayama on the Team Kagayama Suzuki, just ahead of Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark on the second factory Honda entry, the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO bike alongside Takumi Takahashi.
Last year’s winning factory Monster Yamaha squad weren’t in attendance, with Pol Espargaró, Alex Lowes and Kats Nakasuga instead testing separately earlier in the week – and with MCN’s sources reporting a pace that would have seem them top the official test.
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