A star-studded line-up of Suzuki teams is ready for Japan’s most prestigious motorcycle race, the Suzuka 8-Hour World Endurance Championship second round that gets underway tomorrow.
The Coca-Cola Zero 37th 8-Hour has attracted a record-breaking entry of 71 teams, vying for 70 places on the grid; which includes 13-time World Endurance Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, two teams from Yoshimura Suzuki, Team Kagayama, Team Motors Events April Moto and Team R2CL; all aboard GSX-R1000s.
Reigning World Champions SERT will start the race without long-standing rider Vincent Philippe - who is still recovering from injuries sustained in the opening round at the Bol d’Or in France – and will field Australian Damian Cudlin in his place alongside team regulars Anthony Delhalle and Erwan Nigon.
Yoshimura Suzuki has entered two teams to celebrate the company’s 60th Anniversary: ‘Legend of Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance’ and ‘Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance.’ The #12 Legend team comprises former World 500cc Champion Kevin Schwantz, former Japanese Champion Satoshi Tsujimoto and Suzuki MotoGP Test rider Nobuatsu Aoki. Yoshimura’s #34 Shell Advance team is made-up of two more Suzuki MotoGP Test riders - Randy De Puniet and Takuya Tsuda - along with Tyco Suzuki’s British Superbike rider Josh Waters; fresh from his maiden victory at last weekend’s Brands Hatch BSB round.
Team Kagayama’s three-man entry is headed by Yukio Kagayama along with his 2013 Suzuka partner Noriyuki Haga and new young Swiss Dominique Aegerter joining them for the event. Team Motors Events, currently fourth in the points standings, fields Gregory Fastre, Michael Savary and Jimmy Storrar, while R2CL comprises Gareth Jones, Gwen Giabbani and Matthieu Lagrive.
The opening free practice sessions start tomorrow at 13.00hrs local time (GMT+9hrs) with further practice and night practice from 09.00hrs local time on Friday. Saturday’s Top-10 Trial – to determine the starting grid – takes place from 15.30hrs. Warm-up on Sunday is at 08.30hrs with the start of the 37th Suzuka 8-Hour scheduled for 11.30hrs.