The Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) team won the Suzuka 8 Hours (Japan) on Sunday, the third round of the world championship of motorcycle endurance, which clearly dominated on home soil.
The Japanese of Tetsuta Nagashima, Takumi Takahashi and the Spaniard Iker Lecuona – for whom it was the first race – completed 214 laps (about 1,400 km) in eight hours, one turn ahead of the Kawasaki of the three British Leon Haslam, Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea.
After a controversial weekend at Suzuka, Yoshimura SERT Motul’s Suzuki team, made up of just two riders – Frenchman Gregg Black and Japanese Kazuki Watanabe – eventually finished third, two laps down.
The defending champion however increased his lead in the general classification, thanks to 10th place in FCC TSR Honda France. Australian Josh Hook and French Mike Di Meglio finish with six laps, penalized by a technical problem and perhaps still shaken by the fatal accident of their fellow Englishman Gino Rea, who was hospitalized on Saturday and whose health is causing concern.
Winners in June at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team had to retire due to technical problems shortly before the halfway point of the race.
At the ongoing Suzuka circuit, for this 43rd edition – the first since 2019 – 45 competitors took advantage of the calm weather on Sunday, after a contested practice and qualifying in wet conditions.
However, the safety car had to intervene several times, from the first lap following a spectacular exit and then after an incident involving YART – Official Yamaha EWC Team, at the beginning of the last hour.
A member of the fourth leading group in many events, the N.7 bike then had to stop in the pits for a long time and abandon its podium hopes, finishing in 7th place with 5 laps.
The race also marked the farewell of Japanese rider Nobuatsu Aoki, 50, after more than three decades on the circuit, including nearly two in motorcycle speedway, from 1990 to 2008.
The fourth and final round of the world championship, the Bol d’Or, for one hundred years, will take place from September 15 to 18, at the Paul-Ricard circuit, in Le Castellet (France).
1. HRC Team, 214 laps
2. Kawasaki Racing Team, 1 lap distance
3. Yoshimura SERT Motul, 2 laps away
4. S-Pulse Fantasy Racing, 4 rounds
5. Toho Racing, 4 laps away
Overall classification (after three events)
1. Yoshimura SERT Motul 137.5 pts
2. FCC TSR Honda France 104 pts
3. YART – Official Yamaha EWC Team 93 pts
4. TATI Team Beringer Racing 75 points
5. BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team 64pts