Tag Archives: Suzuka

2020 Suzuka 8 Hour officially cancelled

Suzuka 8 Hour is off

As a result of stronger restrictions on entry in Japan, international teams and riders will not be able to travel to Suzuka. In agreement with FIM and Eurosport Events, the promoter of FIM Endurance World Championship, the Suzuka 8 Hours organiser Mobilityland has decided to cancel the 2020 edition.

Rescheduled to 1 November due to the global health crisis, the 43rd edition of the Suzuka 8Hours will not take place in 2020. It is the first-ever cancellation since the creation of the race in 1978.

KRT Team manager – Guim Roda

We had an indication that the cancellation was going to happen and the news has become official today. KHI had big expectations running in the 2020 Suzuka 8 hours, to give the fans an extraordinary show again. With the responsibility to defend the win we achieved last year we planned an incredible project with Rea and Lowes, and with the support of Xavi Fores to attack the 8 Hours as strongly as possible. Everything was already planned, but unfortunately the outside realities and safety requirements around Covid-19 ended all our plans. We understand the wider situation. The direction of the Japanese Government, which is the same as many around the world, makes it difficult to organize the event with so many foreigners attending the 8 Hours race. This is the case for many teams, but especially the factory ones that build their projects in coordination with WorldSBK riders and staff. We hope everything goes back to a more normal situation soon and the Suzuka 8 Hours comes back even stronger. We in KRT are ready to attend KHI’s request to defend the title in future if needed.”

The Covid-19 pandemic remains a source of concern in Japan, and the government has decided not to lift its entry ban on international arrivals, even for business travellers. International riders and permanent teams have always been an integral part of the action at the Suzuka 8 Hours, which has become the grand finale of the FIM Endurance World Championship. In their absence, the grand finale would be a domestic race. As a result, Mobilityland has decided to cancel the 2020 edition.

Kaoru Tanaka – Director of Mobilityland Corporation

We had been preparing for the “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race to be held on November 1st together with all of the fans and stakeholders involved in this race event but, with anguish, we find no alternative but to make the decision to cancel it in consideration of the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Japan and overseas and the fact that there is no prospect of deregulation of immigration restrictions on visitors from abroad at this stage in Japan. Once again, we extend our apologies and regrets to all the fans who were looking forward to attending the Suzuka 8 Hours, which had been postponed from the originally scheduled date in July to November. We also extend our sincere regrets to all of the other stakeholders involved in this race event and we ask for everyone’s kind understanding and cooperation going forward. In closing, let us say that we are determined to make preparations so that the 2021 Suzuka 8 Hours event will be even more enjoyable for the fans than ever before.

François Ribeiro- Head of Eurosport Events

We have been working hard with Mobilityland to reschedule the race from July to November – a first since 1978 – and then to organise entry into Japan for international teams and riders with a special business visa. Our hopes have evaporated with immigration restrictions for foreigners. The cancellation of the 2020 Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours is not a question of spectators’ access. The decision was made not to run this iconic race as a domestic event. The Suzuka 8 Hours, the most prestigious endurance race in the world over the last 40 years, shall not run without top international riders.”

Source: MCNews.com.au

Strong Aussie line-up for 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours

2019 FIM Endurance World Championship

Aussies all set for Suzuka 8 Hours

This weekend will see the Suzuka 8 Hours take place in Japan as the 2019 FIM Endurance World Championship grand finale, with seven Australians taking part between the 8 Hours and 4 Hours events.

Suzuka Hour QP Haslam
2018 Suzuka 8 Hour

The Suzuka 8 Hours has run since 1978, with many Aussie racers making their mark over the years, including Tony Hatton, Michael Cole, Kevin Magee, Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner and Daryl Beattie.

The three time Australian Superbike Champion Josh Waters lines up with the MotoMap S.W.A.T team again for the fourth year in a row, with 2019 marking Waters’ ninth year racing at the Suzuka 8 Hours event.

Suzuka Hour Preview
Josh Hook – F.C.C. TSR Honda – Image by PSP/Mateus Mjagielski

The Mildura based rider will team up with former World 250cc/500cc/MotoGP racer, Nobuatsu Aoki for the sixth time, as well as former BSB rider Dan Linfoot, former. For 2019, Waters, Aoki and Linfoot are competing in the Superstock class.

Former World Supersport and Superbike racer Mark Aitchison takes to the grid with the Will-Raise RS-Itoh Kawasaki Racing Team, with the 35-year-old having been competing in the MFJ Superbike All Japan Road Race Championship for the satellite Kawasaki squad.

Suzuka Hour Preview
Mark Aitchison and the Will-Raise RS-Itoh Kawasaki Racing Team

Aitchison tested with the Kawasaki team for the 8 Hours Suzuka Program and his lap times were good enough to get the nod for a start this weekend. Aitchison, who hails from the Gold Coast, and his team have had two tests at Suzuka, which saw most of the European and Japanese teams present, as well as one private test.

Aitchison’s teammates for the Suzuka 8 Hours will be Akira Yanagawa, and Ryosuke Iwato, who currently rides for Kawasaki Japan as part of their factory effort.

Mark Aitchison

“The last official test was a great experience, as basically the whole EWC championship was on hand to the 8 Hours race weekend. Testing went well enough to this point, though in Japan the weather conditions are always challenging. So, it’s a matter of compromise between you and your teammates on setup. It’s Ryosuke first year as factory rider and I understand why they gave him the opportunity. He’s an extremely talented rider and his lap times at the recent test turned some heads from the top Kawasaki bosses. I think he’s got a great future ahead of him. I really love the fans energy and enthusiasm that they bring. On top of that, the event itself brings its own unique platform, which combined with spectator involvement provides such an exciting and enjoyable weekend.”

27-year-old Aaron Morris reunites with the Paris based R2CL team, in what was a last-minute call up by the team on Saturday. Morris, who is competing in the Australian Superbike Championship with the Maxima BMW team, competed with the R2CL outfit throughout the 2016 EWC championship. 2016 saw Morris and his team finishing fourth at their Le Mans debut, twelfth at Suzuka and ninth in the teams FIM EWC Championship standing.

ASBK TBG Round Morgan Park Morris Hepburn TBG
Aaron Morris – Image by TBG

Morris will certainly be up against it this weekend, with no testing and riding for the first time with his teammates, Yoshihiro Konno and Josh Elliott, while coming to terms with the Suzuki GSX-R1000R on a track which he’s admitted to be his favourite.

Aaron Morris

“I’d love to improve on my best placed finish of twelfth we scored in 2016. We didn’t have a base set up, so we starting again and with three riders it’s hard to have a direction which everyone is happy with.”

2019 marks the first time in Paul Byrne’s career that he will race at Suzuka, joining TEAM SUGAI Racing Japan for the 4 Hours event. Kazu Kuroda from K1 Racing contacted the Irishman and now Australian citizen, a few weeks ago to see if he interested in racing on the team’s Honda CBR600RR. Byrne, 34, previously worked with Kuroda back in 2016, when he was his mechanic racing the International Island Classic and the International Festival of Speed on the DMR Harris XR69.

Suzuka Hour Preview
Paul Byrne joins TEAM SUGAI Racing Japan

Byrne has had to learn the 18-corner circuit, as well as get his head around riding the Aprilia RSV4 machine, a bike he hadn’t ridden before, taking part in the official three-day test.

Paul Byrne

“I mentioned to Kazu that I had an interest in doing some endurance racing in Japan and finally its all come together for the first time, which I’m really grateful for. The first day was about just learning and trying to get as many laps done as possible plus. I really enjoyed the challenge. The second day I was a lot more relaxed and I started to push a bit harder and my lap times came down. But the main objective of the test was for me to help my teammate, Sugai Yoshiyuki with feedback. On top of that I just wanted to get some laps on track to learn it ahead of this weekend.”

Other Aussies to keep an eye out for over the weekend are full-season FIM Endurance World Championship competitors Broc Parkes (YART – Yamaha) and reigning Champ, Josh Hook (F.C.C. TSR Honda France). Also contesting is current Australian Superbike Champion Troy Herfoss (KYB Moriwaki Racing Team).

Suzuka Hour Preview
Broc Parkes (YART – Yamaha) – Image by PSP/Mateus Mjagielski

Hook and the F.C.C. TSR Honda France team are currently sitting third in the Championship; with a strong fourth-fastest finish at the Official Test and topping the times at yesterday’s practice as the quickest of the full-season FIM EWC Team.

YART’s lucky number seems to be five. Currently sitting fifth in the standings and posting the fifth-fastest time at yesterday’s practice, Parkes and his teammates all were quick and consistent.

2019 Endurance World Championship Standings

Pos Team / Equipe Total
1 Team Src Kawasaki France 132
2 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team 127
3 F.C.C. Tsr Honda France 109
4 Wepol Racing 101
5 Yart – Yamaha 88
6 Honda Endurance Racing 79
7 Bolliger Team Switzerland 73
8 Vrd Igol Pierret Experiences 53
9 Moto Ain 45
10 Gert56 By Gs Yuasa 45
11 Bmrt 3d Maccio Racing 39
12 Fany Gastro Bmw Motorrad- By Mercury Racing 38
13 Webike Tati Team Trickstar 36
14 Team 33 Coyote  Louit Moto 32
15 Junior Team Lms Suzuki 30
16 Wójcik Racing Team 2 28
17 No Limits Motor Team 28
18 3art- Moto Team 95 27
19 National Motos 25
20 Motors Events 24
21 Motobox Kremer Racing #65 24
22 Wójcik Racing Team 23
23 Team Erc-Bmw Motorrad Endurance 14
24 Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers 12
25 Team Lrp Poland 12
26 Maco Racing Team 12
27 Jma Motos Action Bike 8
28 Og Motorsport By Sarazin 7
29 Zuff Racing Team 6
30 Am Moto Racing Competition 5
31 Mototech Ewc Team 4
32 Pitlane Endurance 3
33 Gsm Racing 2
34 Slider Endurance 1
35 Falcon Racing Rennes Motos 1
36 Set Racing 1

Source: MCNews.com.au

Suzuka 8 Hour Winners List | Results | Roll of Honour

Suzuka 8 Hour Results

Suzuka 8 Hours History

While the 5.821km Suzuka circuit itself was opened in the September of 1962, the Suzuka 8 Hour first came about in 1978.

It quickly became the most important race for production based bikes in the world.

American duo Wes Cooley and Mike Baldwin won that inaugural duel on July 30, 1978, on a Yoshimura backed GS1000 Suzuki.

Australia planted its flag at Suzuka in 1979 when a Team Honda Australia squad consisting of Tony Hatton and Mick Cole rode a CB900 to victory.

New Zealand took their first top step on the rostrum the following year when Kiwi Graeme Crosby partnered with American Wes Cooley to win the race on a Yoshimura GS1000 Suzuki.

While the race was a Japanese affair largely contested between Nippon manufacturers, it was not untiul 1982 that Japanese riders themselves tasted the champagne. That year the race was reduced to six hours due to an incoming typhoon and standing atop the podium were Shigeo Iijima and Shinji Hagiwara.

Honda RVF Suzuka Hours
1985 Suzuka 8 Hour winning RVF750

Wayne Gardner won the first of his quartet of Suzuka 8 Hour victories in 1985 while sharing the riding duties on the RVF750 Honda with Masaki Tokuno.  Gardner went on to win again the next year, 1986, while partnered with Dominique Sarron.

1987 was the first time Yamaha took top honours and it came thanks to the talents of Kevin Magee, who became the fourth Australian to win a Suzuka 8 Hour. Magee won in partnership with German Martin Wimmer in 1987, the following year, 1988, the Horsham Hurricane’s victory was taken in conjunction with a then 28-year-old Wayne Rainey. The American also won his first 500cc GP race victory that year.

Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan won in 1991 on an RVF750 Honda.

Daryl Beattie then shared the victory podium with Gardner in 1992 on the Oki Honda Racing Team RVF750.

New Zealand’s Aaron Slight then won three on the trot with a different partner each time. The first victory in 1993 coming on a Kawasaki with Scott Russell, followed by two wins on the RC45, the first with Doug Polen and the second with Tadayuki Okada.

1993 also signalled the change from F1 or TT style motorcycles as the premier category at the Suzuka 8 Hour to ‘Superbikes’.

Colin Edwards and Noriyuki Haga put Yamaha back on top in 1996 before Honda then went on a ten-year winning streak that stretched all the way from 1997 through to 2006.

SuzukaH Rossi Edwards
Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards won the 2001 Suzuka 8 Hour

The first three of that decade long Honda winning streak were won on RC45s, the next four on VTR-SP twins, including Valentino Rossi’s 2001 victory with Colin Edwards on the Cabin Honda VTR-SP1, while the Fireblade took top honours in 2004/05/06.

SuzukaH Takeshi Tsujimura
2006 – Suzuka 8 Hour – Takeshi Tsujimura

Yukio Kagayama and Kousuke Akiyoshi broke Suzuki’s 24-year drought in 2007.

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Yukio Kagayama – 2007 Suzuka 8 Hour

Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari put the Fireblade back on top in 2008.

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Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari – Suzuka 8 Hour – 2008

2009 saw the introduction of three-rider teams and another all-Japanese victory for Yoshimura Suzuki.

2012 Suzuka 8 Hour
2012 Suzuka 8 Hour winners Kousuke Akiyoshi, Tadayuki Okada and Jonathan Rea

2010 saw Honda’s Fireblade kicked off another winning streak that carried right through to 2014.

2013 Suzuka 8 Hour
2013 Suzuka 8 Hour winners Takumi Takahashi, Michael Van der Mark and Leon Haslam

Winners for Honda in this period included Leon Haslam, Takumi Takahashi, Jonathan Rea, Takaaki Nakagami, Tadayuki Okada and Michael Van der Mark.

2015 marked a new era of domination by the Yamaha Factory Racing Team and the YZF-R1M.

Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Katsuyuki Nakasuga – Suzuka 8 Hour – 2015

Japanese hotshot Katsuyuki Nakasuga has been part of all those victories while Pol Espargaro (2015/16) helped him to two, as did Alex Lowes (2016/17), while Bradley Smith (2015) and Michael Van der Mark (2017) played their parts in Yamaha’s recent string of success also.

Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Pol Espargaro
Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Pol Espargaro – 2015 Suzuka 8 Hour

In 2018, Nakasuga again partnered with Alex Lowes and Michael Van der Mark and the trio went on to claim Yamaha’s fourth successive victory.

Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael Van der Mark
Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael Van der Mark victorious at the 2017 Suzuka 8 Hour

Suzuka 8 Hour Most Successful Riders

Only five riders have taken four victories at the prestigious race. Wayne Gardner (1985-1986-1991-1992), Ryuichi Kiyonari (2005-2008-2010-2011), Shinichi Itoh (1997-1998-2006-2011), Katsuyuki Nakasuga (2015-2016-2017-2018), Michael Van der Mark (2013-2014-2017-2018).

The most successful rider at the Suzuka 8 Hour is Tohru Ukawa. The Japanese rider has five victories to his name (1997-1998-2000-2004-2005). All five were won on Honda machinery, two on the RC45, one on the VTR1000 and two more on Fireblades.

Suzuka Ukawa
2004 Suzuka 8 Hour – Tohru Ukawa

Suzuka 8 Hour Most Successful Manufacturers

Honda are the leading manufacturer with 27 wins. Next best is Yamaha with eight victories while Suzuki have five wins.

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Ryuichi Kiyonari – 2008 Suzuka 8 Hour

Kawasaki has only ever won the prestigious event once and that was some 25 years ago when Aaron Slight and Scott Russell piloted a ZXR750R to victory.

Suzuka 8 Hour Results

Roll of Honour

Source: MCNews.com.au