This weekend the iconic Suzuka race track hosts the final round of the World Endurance Championship, This round is seen by many as the crown jewel of the Endurance World championship it first hosted an Endurance event in 1978 as a way for the big four Japanese Motorcycle manufacturers to demonstrate and compete against each others top prototype machines, Eventually the event moved to using superbike machines in 1993 as those machines were proving extremely popular after many years of being a support class to the prototype machines. The event will be shown in full on British Eurosport in the UK starting live on Sunday morning at 03:15am with highlights at a later date.
Length of the circuit:
Duration of the race: 8 hours
Records for an Endurance lap In the race:
2’07.943 – Musashi Harc Pro (Honda CBR1000RR) – Ryuichi Kiyonari in 2012
2’06.000 – Yamaha Factory Racing team (Yamaha R1). Pol Espargaro in 2015
2016 top 10:
1 Yamaha Factory Racing Team NAKASUGA / ESPARGARÓ / LOWES YAMAHA 217 laps
2 Team Green YANAGAWA / WATANABE / HASLAM KAWASAKI – 2’17.883
3 Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance TSUDA / BROOKES / HAGA SUZUKI – 1 lap
4 Yamaha Austria Racing Team PARKES / FUJITA / NOZANE YAMAHA – 4 laps
5 Moto Map Supply KONNO / WATERS / AOKI SUZUKI – 4 laps
6 Team Kagayama KAGAYAMA / KIYONARI / URAMOTO SUZUKI – 5 laps
7 EVA RT TEST TYPE-01 Trick STAR DEGUCHI / IZUTSU / NIGON KAWASAKI – 5 laps
8 SatuHATI Honda Team Asia PRATAMA / WILAIROT / ZAIDI HONDA – 6 laps
9 Mistresa with ATS NAKATSUHARA / KOBAYASHI / SEKIGUCHI HONDA – 6 laps
10 au&Teluru·KoharaRT AKIYOSHI / CUDLIN / OHKUBO HONDA – 6 laps
So onto this years event Im going to give BSB,WSBK and MotoGP fans an overview of riders they should keep an eye out for this year:
Riders from BSB:
- Leon Haslam: Haslam is a Suzuka regular having won the event twice and scoring a podium with Team Green Kawasaki team last year the same team he will be racing for this year.
- Josh Brookes: Brookes re-joins the Yoshimura Suzuki a team he has raced with at Suzuka before in 2013 and 2016 scoring a podium for both occasions.
- Sylvain Guintoli: Guintoli joins Brookes at the Yoshimura team but he will be making his Suzuka debut at this years event, He has been riding and developing the new GSXR in BSB this season so should have plenty of experience with the bike
- Dan Linfoot: Linfoot is another rider making his Suzuka debut riding for the Official Honda team in BSB he joins the Moriwaki Motul Honda squad for the event, He is joined in this team by 3 time BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari has won the event on 4 occasions.
- Jason O’Halloran: Linfoot’s BSB team mate O’Halloran will also be racing at the event he has joined the Dream Sakurai outfit for the event, O’Halloran is an old hand at the event having raced at it many times for Honda.
- Christian Iddon: Iddon will be making his Endurance racing debut at Suzuka he has joined the BMW Motorad39 team for the event, Iddon heads to Japan off the back of a podium in race 2 of the recent BSB weekend so should be full of confidence for the event.
- Bjorn Estment: Estment will make his debut and will join fellow South African Sheridan Morais at this years event the pair have raced together before at this years Oschersleben 8 Hour and will ride for Team Rabid Transit.
Riders from WSBK:
- Raffaele De Rosa: De Rosa will join the same BMW Motorad39 team as Christian Iddon for this years event, De Rosa currently rides for the Althea BMW team in WSBK replacing Markus Reiterberger.
- Alex Lowes: Lowes a winner of this event in 2016 returns to the event with the same Official Yamaha squad, Lowes has had a good start to his WSBK campaign often finishing as top rider outside of the dominant Kawasaki and Ducati riders.
- Michael Van Der Mark: Van Der Mark is a veritable Suzuka veteran having won the event twice before in 2013 and 2014, He joined the Pata Yamaha squad for this season showing flashes of what he is capable of but is still getting to grips with the R1 despite this himself, Lowes and Katsuyuki Nakasuga will hard to beat at this years race.
Rider from MotoGP Paddock:
- Jack Miller: Miller is yet another rider making his Suzuka debut this year but he is without doubt the highest profile of any of the riders this year, Riding for the Marc VDS Honda team in MotoGP the Australian is a very popular rider he will ride for the Factory backed MuSASHi HARC-PRO Honda team.
- Takaaki Nakagami: Moto2 star Nakagami will join Miller in the MuSASHi HARC-PRO Honda team, At 18 years old Nakagami won the event with the same team in 2010 riding for the same team alongside Ryuichi Kiyonari and team mate this year Takumi Takahashi currently racing in the JSB1000 Championship for the MuSASHi HARC squad.
- Dominique Aegerter: Current Moto2 rider Aegerter will join the F.C.C TSR Honda squad alongside Stefan Bradl unlike Bradl Aegerter has been to Suzuka before taking the F.C.C TSR Honda to a podium in 2014 and 2015 the Swiss rider has gained a sizable fan following in his previous outings.
If I have missed any riders from the championships mentioned please let me know so I can include them. Please share this if you enjoyed what you read and make sure you follow me on twitter for BSB and MotoGP coverage.