Yoshimura Suzuki will start Sunday’s 36th Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8-Hour World Endurance Championship round from second place on the grid after losing out on pole by just 0.143 secs. in Saturday’s revised Top 10 Time Trial at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
Rain showers at the circuit forced the cancellation of the usual Time Trial single-lap sprint format and it was replaced with a 40-minute qualifying session for the Top-10 Qualifying teams from Friday; and run in temperatures of 30 degrees in 60 percent humidity.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Takuya Tsuda, who is teamed with Suzuki MotoGP test rider Nobu Aoki and British Superbike contender Josh Brookes, set the pace early with a lap of 2:06.960 aboard the team’s GSX-R1000 in front of 28,000 fans, only to be outdone by the smallest of margins by Monster Energy YART’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who beat his own 2012 Top-10 lap record with a time of 2:06.817.
Suzuki-mounted Team Kagayama – Nori Haga, Kevin Schwantz (using close friend Wayne Rainey’s Shoei-liveried helmet today) and Yukio Kagayama – posted the sixth fastest time with a lap of 2:08.188, just ahead of reigning World Champions Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Julien Costa on the SERT GSX-R1000, who posted a lap of 2:08.491.
Yoshimura Suzuki Team Manager Yohei Kato said, “Everything is good so far. Nobu Aoki made the basic development of our bike and Takuya Tsuda has added some good set-up. And Josh Brookes is showing us his world class potential. All three riders like a similar set-up of the bike so no complaints. We are looking forward to tomorrow and having a strong and successful race.”
Suzuka 8-Hour Top-10 Qualifying Times
1.Monster Energy YART (Yamaha) Nakasuga/ Parkes/ Waters – 2:06.817
2. Yoshimura Suzuki (Suzuki GSX-R1000) Takuya Tsuda/ Nobuatsu Aoki/ Josh Brookes – 2:06.960
3. MuSASHI RT HARC-PRO (Honda) Takahashi/ Haslam/ van der Mark – 2:07.260
4. FCC TSR Honda (Honda) Rea/ Kiyonari – 2:07.302
5. BMW Motorrad France (BMW) Nigon/ Pridmore – 2:07.368
6. Team Kagayama (Suzuki GSX-R1000) Yukio Kagayama/ Kevin Schwantz/ Noriyuki Haga – 2:08.188
7. SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) Vincent Philippe/ Anthony Delhalle/ Julien Da Costa – 2:08.491
8. Honda Team Asia (Honda) Tamada/ Shah/ Kamaruzaman/ Takahashi – 2:08.507
9. TOHO Racing with MORIWAKI (Honda) Yamaguchi/ Ito/ Watanabe – 2:09.091
10. Yamaha France GMT94 (Yamaha) Checa/ Foray/ Lagrive – 2:09.275
–From Team Suzuki News Service