The Yamaha France GMT94 Michelin Yamalube Team and Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing – YART prepare for the 37th “Coca-Cola Zero” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race held from the 24th to the 27th of July.
The GMT94 Michelin team had a good start to the FIM Endurance World Championship. At the first round staged at Magny-Cours the team rode a strong race to grab second place, leaving them just five points behind the leader in the championship standings. Riders David Checa, Kenny Foray and Mathieu Gines are hopeful of keeping their momentum going at Suzuka, which has been a successful circuit for the team in the past. In 2012 GMT94 claimed third position and last year they finished in fifth place just two laps behind the race winner. Things are looking promising as the team had a successful pre-race test at the Japanese circuit on the 2-3 of July. They had to deal with some tricky weather conditions but GMT94 still managed to finish with a solid tenth place.
Monster Energy Yamaha – YART also raises expectations for the 2014 Suzuka 8-hours. Though they had an unlucky start of the season, they plan on making a strong comeback at the Japanese circuit with doubled forces. There will be not just one but two Yamaha’s sporting the YART colours in Suzuka. Monster Energy Yamaha YSP’s Broc Parkes, Josh Brookes and Japanese star Katsuyuki Nakasuga will be riding the #07 YZF-R1, while the YZF-R1 #7 will be in the capable hands of Yamaha Austria Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell, Rick Olson and Tommy Bridewell.
The 2013 Suzuka-8 Hours race saw Monster Energy Yamaha leave from pole position and finish in eighth place. This year the Monster Energy Yamaha YSP team is one of the favourites to win. The team placed second fastest during the pre-race test and will go all out to conquer the top step of the podium.
The Suzuka 8-hour race is arguably one of the toughest endurance races in the world. Not only is the field completely packed with A-list competitors (there are 71 entries but only 70 places available), the circuit provides serious challenges too. Most of the corners are very fast and there are multiple heavy braking zones. Add to this Japan’s hot and humid conditions that make it hard for the riders to concentrate and preserve their energy and you understand that the Yamaha riders have their work cut out for them.
David Checa – GMT94 Michelin Yamalube Team – “We are in good position for the world championship and I feel very well, I did a lot of training before coming. We’ve had the chance to go at Suzuka for the official testing, but one day on the dry is not enough! For the race we have to remove some power because the atmospheric conditions are so different. We don’t want to take any risks with the engine because we have to get points for the championship. I am really excited. I like hot temperatures and Suzuka circuit a lot! We got a podium finish in 2012 with Kenny Foray. He is strong and we can do something well together. Mathieu Gines is really fast but he doesn’t know Suzuka, which is a very difficult circuit. But we ready to challenge.”
Katsuyuki Nakasuga – Monster Energy Yamaha YSP – “For the pre-race tests, I focused not on setting a fast time but working on finding a machine set-up that all three of us riders could do well with. Also, finding a good balance of fuel efficiency and power for the machine is important in the Suzuka 8 Hours, so I wanted to get good data for this as well as formulate a solid strategy for the race. Personally, I’m aiming for a third consecutive pole position, but last year we were running in 4th place when we had machine trouble and fell back through the pack, so this year the goal is to end the race with a top position. Broc Parkes and Josh Brookes are both very fast riders, so if we just go out and do what we each need to do, I’m sure we can aim for the podium.”
Broc Parkes – Monster Energy Yamaha YSP – “I’m really excited for Suzuka and would really like to thank Yamaha for giving me this opportunity again. I think this year we have a very strong team and have shown in testing already that we have a chance to fight at the front. For me Suzuka is the hardest physical race on my calendar this year.”
Josh Brookes – Monster Energy Yamaha YSP – “I’m really looking forward to it. I have been able to up my training regime in recent months so I am hoping I should be able to cope with the heat, and spending long stints on the bike, well enough. It will be a learning year for me so I am not expecting there to be a lot of pressure on me. I just want to go out there and enjoy the experience. There will be different tyres to learn but I have already been doing my homework on the track. It should be good fun.”
A star-studded line-up of Suzuki teams is ready for Japan’s most prestigious motorcycle race, the Suzuka 8-Hour World Endurance Championship second round that gets underway tomorrow.
The Coca-Cola Zero 37th 8-Hour has attracted a record-breaking entry of 71 teams, vying for 70 places on the grid; which includes 13-time World Endurance Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, two teams from Yoshimura Suzuki, Team Kagayama, Team Motors Events April Moto and Team R2CL; all aboard GSX-R1000s.
Reigning World Champions SERT will start the race without long-standing rider Vincent Philippe – who is still recovering from injuries sustained in the opening round at the Bol d’Or in France – and will field Australian Damian Cudlin in his place alongside team regulars Anthony Delhalle and Erwan Nigon.
Yoshimura Suzuki has entered two teams to celebrate the company’s 60th Anniversary: ‘Legend of Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance’ and ‘Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance.’ The #12 Legend team comprises former World 500cc Champion Kevin Schwantz, former Japanese Champion Satoshi Tsujimoto and Suzuki MotoGP Test rider Nobuatsu Aoki. Yoshimura’s #34 Shell Advance team is made-up of two more Suzuki MotoGP Test riders – Randy De Puniet and Takuya Tsuda – along with Tyco Suzuki’s British Superbike rider Josh Waters; fresh from his maiden victory at last weekend’s Brands Hatch BSB round.
Team Kagayama’s three-man entry is headed by Yukio Kagayama along with his 2013 Suzuka partner Noriyuki Haga and new young Swiss Dominique Aegerter joining them for the event. Team Motors Events, currently fourth in the points standings, fields Gregory Fastre, Michael Savary and Jimmy Storrar, while R2CL comprises Gareth Jones, Gwen Giabbani and Matthieu Lagrive.
Australians racing at the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hour
Damian Cudlin – Suzuki Endurance Racing Team #1
Gareth Jones – Team R2CL (Suzuki) #2
Wayne Maxwell – Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team #7
Rick Olson – Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team #7
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