Yoshimura Suzuki with Denso's Daisaku Sakai and Atsushi Watanabe raced their GSX-R1000 to second place at the Suzuka 8 Hour World Endurance third round in Japan as last years winners Yoshimura Suzuki with Jomo's Yukio Kagayama and Kousuke Akiyoshi finished fourth after recovering from a crash.
The event was led from start to finish by Dream Honda Racing's Ryuichi Kiyonari and Carlos Checa who finished with 214 laps, the same number as the Yoshimura team as third place went to Team HARC. Pro Honda four laps behind.
After three hours Honda led the #34 Yoshimura Suzuki of Kagayama and Akiyoshi by a minute but the Suzuki men took a brief lead following a sudden rainfall; Kagayama pulling a 10-second lead on Checa.
But disaster stuck on the 91st lap when Kagayama hit a pool of water in heavy rain and crashed heavily, ruining their chance of victory.
Reigning World Champions SERT had a difficult race, but still remain in the World Endurance Championship lead: In a team knocked down to just two - after fastest rider Vincent Philippe was injured in qualifying, Mathieu Lagrive and Julien Da Costa finished in 14th place on 202 laps.
In the SST class, young Japanese rider Masahiro Sinjo was drafted into the Qatar Endurance Racing Team, finished second in class, and kept the team's championship lead intact.
"I really thought we had a realistic chance to beat Honda but then heavy rain began to fall. I was pushing hard but within the safety margins and then I hit a large pool of water and crashed. I feel sorry for my team mate and all the Yoshimura and SMC staff that we didn't win."
We were fast and strong for 214 laps but could not quite catch Honda. We had a good plan for the race but winning and finishing is a big difference, but I'd like to win next year."
Suzuka 8 Hour Results:
1.DREAM Honda Racing Team 11 - R.KIYONARI/ C.CHECA - 214 laps2.YOSHIMURA SUZUKI with DENSO - D.SAKAI/ A.WATANABE - 214 laps3.Team HARC. pro Honda - Y.KONISHI/ T.TAKAHASHI - 210 laps 4.YOSHIMURA SUZUKI with JOMO - Y.KAGAYAMA/ K.AKIYOSHI - 209 laps5.YAMAHA Racing - Y.SATO/ K.NAKASUGA/ Y.TAKEDA - 209 laps6.MORIWAKI MOTUL Racing HONDA - T.YAMAGUCHI/ C.CRUTCHLOW/ J.OHALLORAN - 208 laps7.PLOT FARO PANTHERA SUZUKI - Y.KONNO/ K.TERAMOTO - 207 laps8.MotoMap SUPPLY SUZUKI - Y.HATANO/ H.OGATA/ T.NAMEKATA - 205 laps9.Team SAKURAI HONDA 10 - C.KAMEYA/ L.HASLAM - 205 laps10.Team SAKURAI HONDA 71 - K.TSUDA/ J.BROOKES - 204 laps14. SUZUKI ENDURANCE RACING TEAM - J.DA COSTA /M.LAGRIVE - 202 laps32.(2nd for STT Class) QATAR ENDURANCE RACING TEAM - ITJ MAL NAIMI/ A.DELHALLE/ M.SHINJO - 194 laps