The opening practice sessions for this weekend’s Suzuka Eight Hour endurance race have begun.
Honorary Brit and BSB star Yukio Kagayama and team-mate Atsushi Watanabe recorded the fastest lap of the practice sessions for the Yoshimura Daxim Suzuki team, riding in the first practice group. Second fastest were Fujiwara and Kitagawa, riding in the second group, with MotoGP star Nicky Hayden and Ryuichi Kiyonari in third. Tadyuki Okada and Chojun Kameya are sixth fastest.
This year’s race sees Brit James Ellison team up with Swede Jimmy Lindstrom for the British Phase One team, while BSB rider Paul Young will partner Canadian rider Jordan Szoke for Ti Force Endurance.
Other notable stars include MotoGP star Nicky Hayden in the Seven Stars Honda team, AMA stars Anthony Gobert and Doug Polen, and former WSB rider Okada. Okada has chosen to share the number 74 in memory of Daijiro Kato. His team-mate is Kato’s cousin Chojun Kayama.
The teams of interest:
3. Suzuki GB Phase One: James Ellison (GBR) and Jimmy Lindstrom (SWE).
1. Zongshen 1: Warwick Nowland (AUS) and Stephane Mertens (BEL).
2. Zongshen 2: Igor Jerman (SLO) and Bruno Bonhuil (FRA)
7. Seven Stars Honda: Tohru Ukawa (JAP) and Hitoyasu Izutsu (JAP)
11. Seven Star Honda: Nicky Hayden (USA) and Ryuichi Kiyonari (JAP)
8. Kenz/J Trust/Mojo Suzuki: Katsuaki Fujiwara (JAP) and Keiichi Kitagawa (JAP)
12. Yoshimura Suzuki Daxim: Yukio Kagayama (JAP) and Atsushi Watanabe (JAP)
44 Weider Honda Gakuen: Haruchika Aoki (JAP) and Osamu Deguchi (JAP)
68. Corona Extra Ti Force Endurance: Anthony Gobert (AUS) and Adam Ferguson (AUS)
74: Team Sakurai Honda: Tadayuki Okada (JAP) and Chojun Kameya (JPN)
86: Corona Extar Ti Endurance: Paul Young (GBR) and Jordan Szoke (CAN)
778: FCC TSR Zip FM: Shinichi Itoh (JAP) and Takeshi Tsujimura (JAP)
899: Team Moto Liberty: Doug Polen (USA) and Toshiyuki Hamaguchi (JAP).
We’ll have updates on the racing throughout the weekend. Discuss the most prestigious endurance race of the year on the World Superbike discussion board by following the link on the right.