Kawasaki Racing Team conquers drama-packed Suzuka 8 Hours

News 29 Jul 2019

EWC goes down to the wire as Team SRC Kawasaki France clinches the crown.

Image: Supplied.

Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam claimed the most dramatic of victories in the 2019 Coca-Cola Suzuka 8-Hours, as Team SRC Kawasaki France clinched its first Endurance World Championship (EWC) crown.

Having made their Le Mans-style start from second place on the grid, the early action in the race was incredibly tight, with KRT third after the first hour – at which point five different teams were covered by just 0.795 seconds.

The KRT riders led after four hours, after five, then six and again at the seven hour point. As Haslam struggled with recent injuries in the final laps of his riding stints four-time World Superbike champion Rea re-took the lead in the final hour and looked destined to secure the win for KRT.

In an unbelievable turn of events, Rea arrived on the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s oil spill in the gloomy and damp conditions that arrived just as the daylight was exhausted. He fell, blamelessly, but was unable to restart. At that stage the dream of a famous race victory seemed gone and the official Yamaha team were initially declared winners after a red flag was thrown.

Despite missing out on the initial podium ceremony and, after a long period of time, the results were amended by the race organisers to put the number 10 Kawasaki back on top. In the final reckoning, KRT won the race by 18.720 seconds from Yamaha Factory Racing’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark and Red Bull Honda riders Takumi Takahashi and Stefan Bradl – all three teams finishing on the same lap total of 216.

Even before the final race classification was determined, the number 11 Team SRC Kawasaki France entry of Jeremy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa had already won the EWC title after the mechanical of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team in the closing laps. In the end, 12th was enough for SRC Kawasaki – following a mishap of their own – to capture the championship.

F.C.C TSR Honda France, led by Australia’s Josh Hook, scored fourth position in the race after Hook led his share in the opening hour. That result secured the outgoing world champions with third in the final EWC standings. Countryman Broc Parkes’ YART Yamaha squad was sixth on Sunday and fifth in points.

Reigning Australian champion Troy Herfoss was solid with the KYB Moriwaki Racing Honda outfit on their way to ninth place in Japan and Aaron Morris (Team R2CL Suzuki) was 22nd, while Josh Waters (Moto Map SWAT Suzuki) was 27th overall and fourth of the Superstock entries despite a costly fall in the first stint.

Detailed results

Source: CycleOnline.com.au

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