Alex Lowes will join last year’s Suzuka 8 Hour winning team of Pol Espargaró and Katsuyuki Nakasuga for this year’s 39th running of endurance racing’s most prestigious race.
Lowes will take over from Bradley Smith on the all-conquering new R1 that dominated the race last year despite safety cars, adverse weather, and two rookies in the form of Smith and Espargaró.
Lowes joins the race with previous form as well, riding the Yoshimura Suzuki to the lead on the first lap of last year’s race. He only just missed out on a podium after a mistake from teammate Takuya Tsuda left them fourth at the flag.
Both the factory team and the Yamaha Austria squad of former BSB and MotoGP racer Broc Parkes and Japanese riders Kouta Nozane and Takuya Fujita will wear the colours of energy drink Monster Energy for the race, as Yamaha attempt to defend their title.