Ryuichi Kyonari and Yuki Takahashi win Suzuka 300 km race for Honda
"Road to 8 hours"-Suzuka 300km Race was held at Suzuka on June 11,2006. Ryuichi Kiyonari and Yuki Takahashi riding Seven Star Honda CBR1000RRW won the race with Yoshiteru Konishi and Tsuyoshi Yasuda (Toy story RT/Honda CBR1000RR) finishing second.
The Suzuka 300km race is not included in the All Japan Championship Series but is a preliminary event for the prestigious Suzuka 8 hrs Endurance race. The classes allowed for the race are: Superbike(SB), Superproduction (SPP), Stockstports (SST), XX Formula (XXF1) and JSB1000 (JSB).
The manufacturers had been racing Superbike machines in the past but the organizer, Suzuka Circuit, requested the factories to use the JSB machines, which is more technically restricted than SB, the factories agreed.
Either one or two riders can ride the machine for the 300km race. Many teams use this occasion to practice and test the rider combination and pit work.
HRC has entered the BSB boy Ryuichi Kiyonari and WGP 250cc rider Yuki Takahashi riding the CBR1000RRW (Seven Stars Honda/JSB/ Michelin) for the race.
HRC has announced that they will enter two factory CBR1000RRWs in the Suzuka 8 hours race but the name of the riders for two teams has not been released yet. However, Kiyonari and Takahashi are likely to race together
Qualify on Saturday was held in dry condition in spite of rainy season in Japan. Yoshiteru Konishi (Toy Story RT JSB Bridgestone/ co-rider Tsuyoshi Yasuda) set a time of 2'08"966 and grabbed pole position.
Ryuichi Kiyonari was the third fastest with 2'09"514. Shinichi Ito(F.C.C.TSR/SB/ BS/ Takeshi Tsujimura) qualified fourth with 2'09"515.
The biggest surprise of the event was Yoshimura switching tyre from Dunlop to Bridgestone. Yoshimura Suzuki rider Atsushi Watanabe (Yoshimura Suzuki with JOMO/JSB/BS/ Nobuatsu Aoki) was seventh fastest.
It rained just before the start of the race so almost all the riders lined up with rain tyre fitted to their machines.
Polesitter Konishi took the hole-shot while Kiyonari was third at the end of the opening lap. The track condition was tricky with the track drying quickly. Kiyonari had to pit after the 19th lap to change the tyre from rain to slick.
HRC test rider Konishi led the race from the start to 23rd lap then changed to Yasuda. Yoshimura's Watanabe was the next leader leading the race from lap 24 to 40. Watanabe handed the Suzuki GSX-R1000 to former GP rider Nobuatsu Aoki. Then it was Yusuke Tejima(F.C.C TSR/CBR1000RR) briefly leading the race. Tejima was then passed by Shinichi Ito who was setting fast lap times of 2'11"s.
Kiyonari switched to Takahashi at the end of 34th lap. Takahashi moved to second during the lap 49 passing both Tejima and Aoki. Then Takahashi marked the fastest lap time of the day 2'11"051 on lap 50.
Ito was leading the race comfortably with almost 14 second advantage to Takahashi when he stopped at the Degner Curve with his CBR1000RR running out of fuel.
Both Kiyonari and Takahashi were delighted to win the race. They were to ride together for the 2004 Suzuka 8 hrs Race but Takahashi crashed during free practice on Thursday and broke his left ankle. So finally they won a race together.
Ryuichi Kiyonari (1st).
"I don't dislike wet race at Suzuka but today's condition was very
difficult. Race pace was not very fast at the beginning and when the pace
was up track was dried. Top riders did not come in to the pit so I was
wondering when to change the tyre. Yuki did really good job and I think
that was the reason we won today."
Yuki Takahashi (1st).
"Kiyonari-san was trying very hard so my part was shorter than it was
planned. I was passed by Ito san soon after I went out to the track. His
riding was so smooth and I learnt a lot following him. I wanted to ride
with Kiyonari san two years a go for the Suzuka 8hrs race but it didn't
happen as I crashed. So I am happy to win today's race with him. I want to
win this year's 8hrs race for Honda. If we win, it will be Honda's 10th win
in a row."
Yoshiteru Konishi (2nd).
"I knew the track would dry up before the start. The team manager said I
can dash till the lap 5 then it was up to me to decide when to come in to
the pit. I was watching other teams' move and was trying to delay the pit
stop as much as possible. May be I was a little too late to come in.
Anyway, Yasuda did good job and I am happy to finish second."
Tsuyoshi Yasuda (2nd).
"It took time for me to analyze the track condition after I went out to the
track. My tactics was to try my best at the right timing so when I was
battling with Aoki, I did not hesitate to pass him. I am happy to finish in
front of him. I learnt a lot during the race so I must use what I gained
during the coming 8 hrs race."
Katsutoni Suzuki- team manager Seven Star Honda Team.
"It was difficult to decide when to let Kiyonari in to the pit. I had told
him that if this kind of situation occurs, he must continue to ride. He
rode really well under the difficult condition. Also Takahashi rode a great
race. However, today's race brought out the problems as well, including pit
work. There are many things we have to improve before the 8 hrs race. This
race was a simulation to the coming 8 hrs race so it was good to find out
problems before the 8 hrs race. Also we must say we were really lucky today
to win the race."
Ryuichi Kiyonari/Yuki Takahashi Seven Star Honda 2:01'39"219
Yoshiteru Konishi/Tsuyoshi Yasuda Toy story RT 2:01'42"124
Atsushi Watanabe/Nobuatsu Yoshimura with JOMO 2:01'42"446
Katsuyuki Nakasuga YSP&Presto RT 2:02'00"118
Norihiko Fujiwara/Nobuyuki Osaki Team Challenger 2:02'44"138
Yusuke Tejima/Manabu Kamada F.C.C.TSR 2:02'46"940
Source: Honda Motor Company, Ltd