Suzuka 8hr: Tsuda breaks circuit record to take Yoshimura Suzuki to pole

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Takuya Tsuda has dipped under the Suzuka absolute lap record to secure pole position for his Yoshimura Suzuki team in tomorrow’s 8hr race. His incredible 1:06.703 lap means that he will line up front of the grid alongside teammates Randy de Puniet and Josh Waters for the Le Mans style running start.
Yamaha MotoGP test rider Kats Nakasuga was second, almost 0.3 down on the Suzuki, after improving from the lap set by teammate Josh Brookes that saw the factory supported team in ninth early in the session.
Third place went to Jonathan Rea, taking the FCC TSR Honda team to within 0.3 of second place, while his Pata Honda WSB teammates of Michael van der Mark and Leon Haslam will be fifth, with the factory Kawasaki Team Green splitting them to put all four major Japanese manufacturers in the top four.
Sixth was Team Kagayama, of former BSB racer Yukio Kagayama, Nori Haga and Moto2 winner Dominique Aegerter. Local squad Honda Suzuka Racing were seventh, ahead of the UK’s Honda Racing team.
The unusual top ten qualifying format at Suzuka saw the two fastest riders from each of the top ten teams take to the track for one flying lap each. Teams 10-6 go first, each completing a lap then starting over, before 5-1 get a similar chance.
The 8 hour race will start tomorrow at 11.30am local time (3.30am UK time), and after three days of beautiful sunshine and temperatures approaching 40ºC, the forecast gives a chance of thunderstorms for the opening hours.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer