Two Japanese Honda killed the competition at the Suzuka 8 Hours qualifications. The Honda FCC TSR of Kosuke Akiyoshi, Shinichi Itoh and Yusuke Teshima got back into the lead with the best lap from Akiyoshi in 2’07.796, just ahead of the very fast Honda Musashi Harc-Pro of Takashi Yasuda, Tatsuya Yamaguchi and Yoshiteru Konishi in 2’07.866. The Suzuki Yoshimura of Daisaku Sakai, Kasuki Tokudome and Nobuatsu Aoki is in third place of the qualifying session with a 2’08.550 best lap.
Behind them are to be found a group of Japanese bikes in the 2’10 bracket. The Suzuki Plot Faro Panthera and the Kawasaki Trick Star Racing lead the Honda Sakurai and Teluru Honeybee Racing. If some of the teams managed to improve their lap times during the second qualifying session, this was not the case for Yamaha Austria Racing Team. In tenth place after the first qualifying session, the Austrian permanent team was expecting from Gwen Giabbani to do an even faster lap. “I did not have one clear lap with the qualifying tyre”, said a disappointed Gwen Giabbani after the afternoon session. YART will miss the “Special Stage”, a Superpole opened to the best ten teams at the qualifications, and will start the race in fourteenth place with their best lap being 2’11.638.
Phase One Endurance placed their Yamaha in the middle of the pack with Damian Cudlin, who did the best lap in 2’15.194. In the British permanent team, everybody took it easy and knows that the most important is the race on Sunday. At BK Maco Moto Racing, the riders Dani Ribalta and Jason Pridmore are more or less in the same pace, with a very small advantage from Pridmore, who signed a best lap in 2’15.523. On the Yamaha Frontier Cleverwolf Racing, French rider Magali Langlois, the only women to race this 32nd edition of Suzuka 8 Hours, managed to get herself qualified by improving significantly her lap times during the second qualifying session.
The “Special Stage” will take place tomorrow from 3:30 pm. The start of Suzuka 8 Hours will be on Sunday at 11:30 local time (GMT + 8). Fifty-eight teams will be on the track.
2009 Suzuka 8 Hours
The fifteen best qualification times
1. FCC TSR Honda 1 (JPN/Honda/K. Akiyoshi, S. Ito, Y. Teshima) 2’07.796
2. Musashi RT Harc-Pro 634 (JPN/Honda/T. Yasuda, T. Yamaguchi, Y. Konishi) 2’07.866
3. Yoshimura Suzuki 12 (JPN/Suzuki/D. Sakai, K. Tokudome, N. Aoki ) 2’08.550
4. Plot Faro Panthera 48 (JPN/Suzuki/O. Deguchi, K. Teramoto) 2’10.011
5. Trick Star Racing 5 (JPN/Kawasaki/H. Izutsu, S. Takeishi, R.Tsuruta) 2’10.290
6. Honda Dream Sakurai 2 (JPN/Honda/T. Takahashi, C. Kameya) 2’10.292
7. Teluru Honeybee Racing 99 (JPN/Honda/H. Noda, T. Sekiguchi) 2’10.309
8. Moto Map Supply 32 (JPN/Suzuki/ Y. Konno, D. Suzuki, M. Shinjo) 2’10.555
9. Team Plus One & TSR 73 (JPN/Honda/S. Iwata,Y. Sugai, K. Watanabe) 2’10.790
10. Team MII R 77 (JPN/Suzuki/ T.Hamaguchi, K. Kanayama) 2’10.855
11. Ohnishi Heat Magic 20 (JPN/Suzuki/T. Ohnishi, Y. Hatano) 2’11.235
12. Team Sports Fighter 68 (JPN/Yamaha/T. Tsuda, T. Satake) 2’11.390
13. Honda Suzuka RT 25 (JPN/Honda/N. Yunoki, T. Morii, I. Namihira) 2’11.580
14. Yamaha Austria 7 (AUT/Yamaha/I. Jerman, S. Martin, G. Giabbani) 2’11.638
15. Weider DD Boys with A-Style (JPN/Honda/Y. Kodama, K. Tsuda) 2’11.763
34. Phase One Endurance 3 (GBR/Yamaha/ P. Vallcaneras, G. Gowland, D. Cudlin) 2’15.194
37. BK Maco Moto 14 (SVK/Yamaha/D. Ribalta, J. Pridmore) 2’15.523