Suzuka 8 Hours begins

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Qualifying has been underway for the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance race on Sunday, July 31, with 80 teams competing for just 70 grid places.

Teams include the MCN backed British Diablo 666 team, British-based Phase One, and the Shell Academy Squad.

Going into the Superpole special stages on Saturday, July 30, Kazuki Tokudome on the No.4 Masked Rider Honda CBR10000RR has put in the fastest lap of 2:08.245. Shinichi Ito has gone second quickest on the No.778 FCC TSR CBR1000RR with 2:08.820, and these were the only two riders to drop below 2:09.00.

Third overall is the top Group B bike of ex-British Superbike star Yukio Kagayama with 2:09.178. Fourth overall are the HRC Honda pair of Ryuichi Kiyonari and Tohru Ukawa.

With ten qualifying sessons spread out over nearly ten hours (starting at 9.15am and ending at 18.45pm), the track and weather conditions have varied significantly. Superpole will decide the top twenty starting positions for the race on Sunday.

The MCN-backed Diablo 666 rider James Hutchins is feeling the pressure:

“Qualifying has been tough and I’m a bit shell-shocked to realise quite how much machinery we’re up against. We haven’t really got the tyres here that we wanted to use, and it’s like fighting a never ending battle. We just want something nice to happen. I feel good about what we’ve done but there are still a few hurdles we’ve got to get over.”

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff