Suzuka 8 Hour Test Times
Suzuka 8 Hour Testing sees Honda leading the way with Takahashi, van der Mark and Stoner

By Trevor Hedge

Most competitors that will take place in the 2015 Coca Cola Suzuki 8 Hour were in Japan earllier this month for a rain-affected two-day official test session.

While the test was valuable unseasonably cold conditions caused some problems for the teams, in particular in regards to tyre testing. The cool track temperatures were not warm enough to get the regular Suzuka race tyres to work effectively, and the windows of dry track time were few and far between.

Thus, the times can be seen as a rough guide to Suzuka form only at this stage. Also, unfortunately, the only results we have been able to obtain from the tests do not identify the actual rider in each team that set the fastest time, however we do have a few inside lines in regards to who did what.

The Musashi RT squad consisting of Michael van der Mark, Casey Stoner and Takumi Takahashi topped the charts on a HARC-Pro Honda Fireblade wih a 2m07.847.

Anecdotally, we understand that it was Takahashi that set the fast time in the HARC-Pro team, while Stoner was in the 2m09s. HARC-Po took out the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hours with Takahashi, Michael van der Mark and Leon Haslam. Stoner takes the place of Haslam in the line-up as the Briton is no longer in the Honda camp, having switched his allegiances to Aprilia for 2015, and will not ride the Suzuka event this year.

Takuya Tsuda set the fastest time for Yoshimura Suzuki, the Shell Advance backed team second overall on the timesheets.  Josh Waters was not present at the test and will also not be present at the next test session.

The fastest Australian at the test was Troy Herfoss, on the Dream RT Sakurai Fireblade. Both Herfoss and his teammate Naomichi Uramoto ran a long string of 2m09s and finished the test session seventh quickest.

Josh Hook was trying to get some tyre testing done but the track temperature did not prove sufficient to concentrate on getting down to any good times on the Bridgestone shod FCC TSR Honda. Still, the team was eighth quickest.

Curiously, Yamaha’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who has been dominating this year’s All Japan Superbike Championship on the new YZF-R1, did not figure in the results from the first test, nor did any Yamaha feature in the top ten. Yamaha could be keeping their powder dry until this week, as Nakasuga’s form at the recent Sugo 52-lap endurance race was scintillating.

That next test is scheduled to get underway this week, and with higher temperatures and less rain on the forecast, it is certain to be more productive than the previous two-day test session, and thus likely to be much more indicative of the form guide for this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours than the results below.

Suzuka 8 hours 2015 Test Session – July 7-8, 2015 – Suzuka 8 Hour Test Times
  1. Takahashi / van der Mark / Stoner – Musashi RT HARC-PRO – Honda CBR1000RR – 2m07.847
  2. Tsuda / Waters / Lowes – Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance – Suzuki GSX-R 1000 – 2m08.430
  3. Yamaguchi / Elias / Wilairot – TOHO Racing with Moriwaki – Honda CBR1000RR – 2m08.446
  4. Kagayama / Kiyonari / Haga – Team Kagayama – Suzuki GSX-R 1000 –  – 2m08.559
  5. Akiyoshi / Watanabe – Teluru Kohara RT – Honda CBR1000RR – 2m08.567
  6. Yanagawa / Watanabe / Yudhisthira – Team Green – Kawasaki ZX-10R – 2m08.572
  7. Herfoss / Uramoto – Honda Dream RT Sakurai Honda – Honda CBR1000RR –  2m09.691
  8. Hook / Smith – FCC TSR Honda – Honda CBR1000RR – 2m10.585
  9. Sakai / Takeishi – CONFINA Flex Motorrad – BMW S1000RR – 2m10.777
  10. Konno / Aoki – MotoMap Supply – Suzuki GSX-R 1000 – 2m11.098
Takumi Takahashi
Takumi Takahashi
Katsuyuki Nakasuga - Sugo 2015
Sugo Superbike 120 Mile Endurance Race was dominated by 33-year-old Katsuyuki Nakasuga onboard a Factory Yamaha YZF-R1