Kagayama and Akiyoshi took the win
Suzuki Yoshimura's Suzuka 8 Hours victory on Sunday brought an end to ten years of Honda dominance in the prestigious Japanese endurance race, with Yukio Kagayama and Kosuke Akiyoshi taking the win ahead of the Honda HRC 33 team of Tadayuki
Okada and MotoGP star Carlos Checa.
Kagayama and Suzuki MotoGP test rider Akiyoshi completed 216 laps to secure their triumph in the 30th staging of the event, returning the Japanese manufacturer to the top step of the Suzuka podium and repeating the early success of Suzuki in the race - which they won on the first eight occasions it was held.
Second place for the Honda HRC 33 of Okada and Checa was well earned after they fought back valiantly following a ‘stop and go' penalty for a premature start. The Honda 33 was as far down as ninth position after 60 minutes, but following eight hours of intense racing they had made up enough ground to complete 216 laps just 2'01.484s after the victorious Suzuki team.
Third place went to the F.C.C.TSR ZIP-FM Racing Team, whose pairing of Yusuka Teshima and ex-MotoGP star Shinichi Itoh completed 215 laps.
Reflecting on his first ever Suzuka 8 Hours race, Honda LCR MotoGP team rider Checa commented: “I'm really satisfied about the second position that we achieved. It has been a fantastic experience and the result is good although, evidently, it would have been better to take the victory. Finishing two minutes behind the Suzuki and in the same lap is a very good performance. They had better pace and took the victory.”
“In any case, I'm very satisfied with all this week in Japan, it has been a formidable experience. Taking the pole position and beating the track record was very good and a second place ends a good performance by all the team and my teammate Taddy Okada. Everything that happened here gives to me a lot of confidence and I hope that in the second half of the MotoGP World Championship, my results will be better.”
The strong Honda HRC 11 partnership of current Bennetts British Superbike championship leader Ryuichi Kiyonari and World Superbike frontrunner James Toseland was ultimately fruitless, after Englishman Toseland crashed on his first lap and their involvement was unfortunately terminated when the team had been in second position.
DORNA / CAPSIS International