Kawasaki Team Green has picked up provisional pole at the Suzuka 8 Hours and Jonathan Rea has set a new Endurance lap record with a 2:05.168.
Kawasaki Team Green rider Jonathan Rea has smashed the lap record in qualifying set by Pol Espargaró (a 2:06.000) in the 2015 Top 10 Trial. The FIM Superbike triple champion posted a 2:05.168 lap to once again etch his name into the Suzuka 8 Hours annals following his 2012 win.
Rea’s blistering lap, teammate Leon Haslam seriously upping his performance and strong back-up from Kazuma Watanabe took Kawasaki Team Green to provisional pole ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s seemingly unbeatable Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark.
Red Bull Honda with Japan Post (Takumi Takahashi, Takaaki Nakagami and PJ Jacobsen) held on to 3rd place on the provisional grid, ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing (Takuya Tsuda, Sylvain Guintoli and Bredley Ray), Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda (Dominique Aegerter, Ryo Mizuno and Randy de Puniet), S-Pulse Dream Racing IAI (Hideyuki Ogata, Thomas Bridewell and Kazuki Watanabe) and au.Teluru MotoUP Racing Team (Kosuke Akiyoshi, Tetsuta Nagashima and Isaac Viñales).
YART Yamaha (Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Takuya Fujita) once again proved the quickest of the full-season FIM EWC squads, placing 8th ahead of KYB Moriwaki Motul Racing and Team Sup Dream Honda.
These teams – the 10 fastest in qualifying – will toss their hats back into the ring tomorrow afternoon at the Top 10 Trial, a superpole unique to the Suzuka 8 Hours during which riders run an individual flying lap. The first 10 spots on the starting grid are then reassigned based on the superpole results.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France will start from 12th place on the grid, ahead of GMT94 Yamaha (14th), their 2017-2018 FIM EWC title challenger, and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team which will start from 17th, with NRT48 in 19th place.
The 41st Suzuka 8 Hours will be flagged off at 11.30am local time (GMT+9) this Sunday, with a night-time finish scheduled for 7.30pm.