2022-08-05 03:11
The Suzuka 8 Hours is making its return to the FIM EWC calendar. The Yoshimura Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Motul, currently leading the championship, will enter the prestigious Japanese event with high hopes of a podium finish, confirmed by a very promising first day of testing.

The 43rd Coca-Cola 8 Hours of Suzuka marks the third round of the 2022 FIM EWC Championship. Thanks to its victory in the 24 Heures Motos of Le Mans (France) and its fourth place in the 24 Hours of Spa EWC Motos (Belgium), the Yoshimura SERT Motul team leads the provisional world championship standings by 15 points.

The Japanese event marks the halfway point of the season. It is also the home round for Yoshimura and Suzuki who will be keen to show their colours.

The 45 teams involved are back on the fabulous Suzuka track for a highly anticipated event, after two successive cancellations due to the global health crisis. They have been here since the beginning of the week and have all had the opportunity to get their bearings on this very demanding track, which mixes very fast curves and slow corners, all under a scorching heat.

For this very special race in the championship, the Yoshimura SERT Motul decided to rely on the experience of Japanese rider Kazuki Watanabe, a great specialist of the Suzuka 8 Hours, who will undeniably be an additional asset for the team.

He is accompanied by two Frenchmen, Sylvain Guintoli and Gregg Black, as Belgian Xavier Simeon had to withdraw from the race after a positive test for Covid-19.

The three Suzuki riders were already very competitive in the free practice sessions, regularly finishing in the top 5 on the time sheet, despite the strong competition from the national riders.

The practice session ended with a time of 2.07.624, the third fastest time of the whole session. This is a very promising performance before the beginning of the qualifying sessions, which will take place on Friday 5th August, from 10:30AM to 05:20PM local time.

Damien SAULNIER – Team Manager:

“The Japanese have been waiting since 2019 for this race that connects Suzuka to the World Endurance Championship. For us, the objective is twofold. Of course, if a good place is within our reach, we will go and get it. But we are fighting for the world title and it is crucial to score points before the final race at the Bol d'Or. We remain focused and confident. During the tests, we needed some time to find our bearings and not everyone was fully satisfied with the first results. But the team did a great job and we finished with good times.”

Yohei KATO – Team Director:

“We have not raced at Suzuka 8 Hours since 2019 so we are very happy to come back here as a defending champion .

" The Suzuka 8 Hours is different from the other events. It has a special atmosphere which you can’t see in the race events in Europe. Also the race is held in a particular climate which is very hot and humid, and it is not an easy condition for riders and crews even though it is a much shorter race than 24 hour one.

"The special challenge on the racing side is that there are HRC, Kawasaki Factory team and many local teams who are very fast and competitive. It will be a very tough race against them, but we will do our best. Unfortunately we missed Xavier due to Covid-19, but we still have a strong package and we are ready to fight."

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story