Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 25 Jul 2014
This weekend sees the 37th running of the Suzuka 8 hour race and as would be expected for the most prestigious endurance race on the calendar, there is an all-star line-up for 2014.
There’s a strong contingent from the World Superbike paddock once again, largely consisting of the PATA Honda team with both of the squads Superbike and Supersport riders taking on the 8 hour endurance spectacular. Jonathan Rea lines up with the FCC TSR Honda squad once again and after losing out in 2013 following a crash from Ryuichi Kiyonari the Ulsterman will be hoping for a better result alongside Lorenzo Zanetti and Kohsuke Akiyoshi.
Last year’s winners, MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO are back with Britain’s Leon Haslam, Dutch sensation Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi and have already beenshowing their pace, setting pole position ahead of tomorrow’s ten team shoot out.
After making a sensational return to racing for last year’s event, Kevin Schwantz is back for 2014 this time with the iconic Yoshimura Suzuki team, forming one of the Japanese tuning giant’s effort dubbed ‘Yoshimura Legends’ alongside Satoshi Tsujimoto and Nobuatsu Aoki. The other half of Yoshimura’s team includes recently turned British Superbike race winner Josh Waters, Suzuki MotoGP test and development rider Randy de Puniet and Takuya Tsuda.
The otherwise retired World Superbike legends of Noriyuki Haga and Yukio Kagayama are also back in action, this year joined by Moto2 race winner Dominique Aegerter. Other former World Superbike riders on track include Katasuki Fujiwara and Akira Yanagawa.
Joining Josh Waters in the British Superbike contingent is once again Aussie Josh Brookes, this year riding for the Monster Energy Yamaha YSP squad, with Brookes’ BSB team mate and Suzuka rookie Tommy Bridewell lining up for the Monster Energy Yamaha YART squad. There’s even MotoGP representation in the form of Broc Parkes alongside Josh Brookes.
If you’re looking for the Honda TT Legends squad this year, they are present but under a different name of Honda CBR Racing Endurance with the all French squad of Freddy Foray, Sebastian Gimbert and Julian da Costa.
Notably absent from this year’s line-up is Ryuichi Kiyonari. The three-time British champion ended a career-long relationship with Honda to join BMW in the British Superbike Championship this year.
Teams through to Saturday’s shoot out for pole include: