Suzuka 8 Hours 2016 – July 4-5-6 Official Test

By Trevor Hedge

While Josh Brookes missed this week’s recent three-day test at Suzuka with the Yoshimura Suzuki squad he will contest the 2016 Suzuka 8 Hour with, the 33-year-old will be buoyed by the fact that his partners, Takuya Tsuda and Noriyuki Haga, for this year’s 39th running of what is the world’s biggest endurance motorcycle racing event, topped the time-sheets at the tricky 5.8km circuit.

2016 Suzuka 8 Hour Test - Yoshimura Suzuki
2016 Suzuka 8 Hour Test – Yoshimura Suzuki

While Brookes, was absent from the test, he will re-join the team next week to test in the lead-up to Japan’s biggest motorcycle event, the 39th Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8-Hours, which this year will be held over the weekend July 28-31st. Also absent from the test was the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, last year’s winners of the Suzuka 8-Hours, who, along with Brookes are expected at the final Suzuka test next week.

Takuya Tsuda

“When I was young, I was wearing a ‘Haga’ replica helmet, as I was a big fan, and I never expected that I would race with him as a team-mate. So I am so happy and really motivated!  The test was really good and our set-up went well, but I am still not satisfied with my result today and I will push more. Of course one fast lap is important to get the top grid-position, but we have to race for eight hours and I have to keep a good pace during my stint.  Nori is very experienced and there are so many things to learn from him, and I am really happy for the opportunity. Josh is also nice guy and I am sure he has no problem with our bike, so I am looking forward to the next test.”

2016 Suzuka 8 Hour Test - Yoshimura Suzuki - Takuya Tsuda
2016 Suzuka 8 Hour Test – Yoshimura Suzuki – Takuya Tsuda
Noriyuki Haga

“This is my first opportunity to race with Yoshimura Suzuki and I have started by learning both the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 machine and also working with the team. In each session I was able to learn something and was able to make progress; and then I was relaxed and was able to push.  This was the first three days and we have another two days of testing next week, and I am sure we will improve again. It is nice to race with Takuya as he is a nice guy; and I am looking forward to Josh (Brookes) joining us next week.”

2016 Suzuka 8 Hour Test - Yoshimura Suzuki - Noriyuki Haga
2016 Suzuka 8 Hour Test – Yoshimura Suzuki – Noriyuki Haga

The FCC TSR Honda Fireblade of Watanabe, Jacobsen and Aegerter went up in flames near the end of the test, when the Swiss rider crashed heavily.

Damian Cudlin is racing Suzuka this year on the Teluru Kohara RT Fireblade with Akyioshi and Okubo, the trio were eighth quickest at the test.

Damian Cudlin
Damian Cudlin
Damian Cudlin

“I’m really satisfied with the results of our test and am so happy to have landed in the au&Teluru Kohara Team alongside Akiyoshi and Okubo. They are both fast and good to work with.  

Damian Cudlin
Damian Cudlin

“The bike is a bit different to the one I’ve been riding this year, and there’s a few things I’m still trying to get used to, but I made good progress on it and handed it back to the team in one piece.  The next test is on the 13/14th July and I think we are in good shape for that.”

Damian Cudlin
Damian Cudlin

Broc Parkes was the quickest rider in the Yamaha Austria Racing Team squad. Parkes is sharing the YART YZF-R1 with Nozane and Fujita this year and the trio ended the test ninth quickest.

Mildura’s Josh Waters is riding the MotoMap Supply Suzuki this year with Aoki and Konno. The trio rounded out the top ten at the end of the three-day test.

Josh Waters

“We were 10th overall, but we only had race spec tyres for the Suzuka circuit, it would of been great to ride on a little softer tyre but the aim for Bridgestone and our team was to try improve the package for the race. We are on Bridgestone 17″ rubber, all factory bikes and others are on 16.5, we are Bridgestone’s 17″ team to help them develop the tyre, which is a work in progress. No softer options were available so our times are reflective of what will be our race pace. I had to do a race run for information for them, by the time the race weekend comes around we will have a new specification tyre which should prove better again.”

Josh Waters
Josh Waters

Josh Waters is winging his way home today to his expecting wife, Gin. The couple are expecting their first baby very shortly thus the 29-year-old will miss the next test session with the team.

Suzuka 8 hours 2016 – Official Test – Times from day three, Wednesday, July 6th
  1. Yoshimura Suzuki (Suzuki) – Tsuda / Haga – 2m07.479
  2. FCC TSR Honda (Honda) – Watanabe / Jacobsen / Aegerter – 2m08.224
  3. TOHO Racing (Honda) – Yamaguchi / Rea – 2m08.249
  4. Team Green (Kawasaki) – Yanagawa / Watanabe / Haslam – 2m08.342
  5. Team Kagayama (Suzuki) – Kagayama / Kiyonari / Uramoto – 2m08.368
  6. Musashi RT HARC-PRO (Honda) – Takahashi – 2m08.474
  7. SatuHATI Honda Team Asia (Honda) – Nakagami / Wilairot / Zaidi – 2m08.498
  8. au & Teluru Kohara RT (Honda) – Akiyoshi / Cudlin / Okubo – 2m08.608
  9. YART Yamaha (Yamaha) – Parkes / Nozane / Fujita – 2m08.841
  10. MotoMap Supply (Suzuki) – Konno / Aoki / Waters – 2m09.656