Yoshimura Suzuki take out ‘Road to 8 hours’

Checa and Kiyonari take close second for Honda at Suzuka 300km race

The Suzuka 300km race, the pre-Suzuka 8 Hours race, took place today, June 8th and the Honda factory duo of Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari, riding for the DREAM Honda Racing Team finished a close second in the 52 lap-race. The second DREAM Honda Racing CBR1000RRW, in the hands of Yusuke Teshima and Jonathan Rea finished in fifth place.

Checa had set second best time of 2’08”240 during the timed practice which took place on Saturday.
Yoshimura Suzuki men, Kosuke Akiyoshi and Yukio Kagayama snatching pole position, Akiyoshi marking a lap time of 2m 08.052s.

The 2008 CBR1000RRW the Honda teams raced at Suzuka is completely new, both engine and chassis. Not all the Honda teams are completely comfortable with the machine set-up but their aim was to gather as much data as possible from the 300km race in preparation for the coming Suzuka 8 Hours race on July 27.

As Michelin wished to concentrate on MotoGP, DREAM Honda Racing Team #11 of Checa and Kiyonari used Bridgestone tyres while the #33 DREAM Honda Racing Team of Rae and Teshima ran Dunlop for today’s race.

At 13:00, the riders made the traditional Le Mans style start. Kiyonari made a good but at turn three a multiple crash involving eight riders, Rae, who won the corresponding race last season, and fellow Honda rider Leon Haslam among them, brought out the red flag. Haslam, who was accompanied by his father Ron, was sidelined for the day and didn’t have a chance to show his riding skill at Suzuka this time.

The delayed start took place at 13:50 and it was Kiyo who again made a good start followed by the two Yoshimura Suzuki’s of #12 Daisaku Sakai and #34 Kosuke Akiyoshi. Akiyoshi passed both Kiyonari and Sakai on lap four and from then on led the field until the rider change over.
Kiyonari battled with Sakai for second place till the end of his stint.

Akiyoshi passed his Yoshimura machine to Norio Kagayama and Kiyonari the CBR1000RRW to Carlos Checa. At that time the difference between the two was more than 15 seconds.

From that point on Checa mounted a superb fight back charge, lapping in the 2m 09s bracket continuously. It looked like the battle between the top two would be decided at the finish line, but the inevitable back markers played a telling roll in the proceedings hampering Checa’s progress in the later stages denying the Spaniard the potential opportunity of a race victory.

Checa crossed the finish line a mere 2.336 seconds down on Kagayama. Third place went to the Yoshimura of Daisaku Sakai and Atsushi Watanabe. Yamaha rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who rode the race on his own, finished fourth, with the DREAM Honda Racing Team pairing of Rea and Teshima fifth.

Sixth place went to the Team Green Kawasaki of Akira Yanagawa with the F.C.C. TSR CBR1000RR pairing of Shinichi Ito and Satoshi Tsujimura finishing seventh. Tatsuya Yamaguchi and Cal Crutchlow raced to eighth for Moriwaki MOTUL Racing.

The Sakurai Honda of Kazuma Tsuda took ninth place with Yuji Sato and Yuichi Takeda rounding out the top ten finishers, both teams one lap down.

Comments from the Honda Riders and managers:

Carlos Checa (2nd)
“I always want to win races. So it was disappointing to finish second but considering I was riding new machine with new partner using Bridgestone tyre for the first time, it was not so bad to finish second. We found out the issues we have to solve by the 8 hr race. We must improve handling. When I was catching up Kagayama,I was trying more than 100%. But there were many back markers and that would easily change a second or so of my lap times. Still I was pushing hard to put pressure on Kagayama.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari(2nd)
“I didn’t know about the first crash because I was in front of them. After the re-start, I wanted to push hard and was leading the pack. But I couldn’t assess how dirty the track condition was. I found something about Bridgestone tyre. After 20 laps, it still had good grip which means I could have gone faster from the beginning. I could hear the sound of Yoshimura machine following me and I said to myself, I will never surrender. I wanted to hand the machine to Checa with less difference. I am disappointed about that.”

Norihisa Matsuura (DREAM Honda Racing Team #11 Team manager) “Although we couldn’t win the race, we found the issues which we must solve. We were behind Akiyoshi. We must develop the machine to the level Checa and Kiyo can mark 2’08”00 comfortably. Checa’s catch up was fantastic so I give 90 marks for that.”

Johnathan Rea(5th)
“When the multiple crash happened, someone crossed my way and I closed the throttle. I crashed instantly. We had to start with the spare machine and I made quite good start. Kiyo was in front of me and two Yoshimuras passed me. Still I could keep 4th place. Team knows what we must improve for the 8 hr race and that is good thing.
Still I wanted to get on the podium.”

Yusuke Teshima(5th)
“Johnny handed me the machine in fourth place but I couldn’t hold the place. I am really sorry for him. It may sound no good but there were many issues so I am quite happy that we could finish the race. The most important thing is to improve the freedom of the machine. When passing slower riders and missing the ideal line, I want to ride more freely and smoothly. Today I only did one stint of 8 hr race but I am tired. We must get a good set-up so that I don’t get tired so much.”

Tetsuo Kinoe DREAM Honda Racing Team #33 Team Manager
“Our target today was to collect as much information as possible for coming 8 hr race. We have accomplished this and now we have to give priorities to what we have to do.

Teruaki Matsubara Project leader
“Checa made a fantastic catch up. We must improve the machine so that Kiyo can do better lap times. In the case of #33, Teshima rode well and we have to improve the machine so that the both riders can do better lap times consistently.”

#2 Shinichi Ito ( F.C.C TSR -7th)
“I couldn’t go faster as machine set-up was not good enough. This year’s machine has a lot of issues which must be solved. It is necessary to have a good balance. From now on, we will test different set-ups and get ready for 8 hr race.”

#2 Satoshi Tsujimura (F.C.C. TSR – 7th)
“Today I rode with Ito-san’s set-up. Although the race had been red-flaggged, I never lost my concentration and gathered precious data. There was no trouble nor crash and we did a good job collecting data. Top bikes are really fast. Still we have some time to prepare before the 8hr race.”

#19 Tatsuya Yamaguchi(Moriwaki Motul racing -8th) “Today I was testing the set-ups for 8 hr race. I was testing a good fuel consumption mode which will not allow high top speed. I think this race was precious as we could gather a lot of useful data for coming 8 hr race. Machine set-up has been good so I think we can get a good result in 8 hr race.”

#19 Cal Crutchlow (Moriwaki Motul racing-8th)
“It was my first race at Suzuka and I am quite satisfied about my riding. It was good experience for me. This was my first race with Yamaguchi san and our setting is quite close. I really want to say thank you to Mr. Moriwaki and Yamaguchi san. I will try to get better result for the 8 hr race.”

#10 Chojyun Kameya ( Team Sakurai Honda – DNF)
“It was a shame that I could only do two decent laps. Still I marked 2’13”75 which was pretty good considering the fact I only did two laps. We did pit stops and out pit stop time was better than last year’s. My hand, which I injured previous to this race, is still hurting but it will be OK by 8hr race.”

#10 Leon Haslam (Team Sakurai Honda – DNF)
“I was improving during the practices and I was looking forward to the race. But Kameya was involved in the multiple crash and it was disappointing for both of us. Still he marked 2’13”750 which equals to something like 2’09s as he is very fast rider. Also the machine has a lot of potential and I am sure it can get a good result. I hope to race with this machine again in the future.”

#73 Yoshiteru Konishi ( Kyubo com. Team HARC-PRO –DNS) “I crashed at the S curves because there was oil on the track. When I crashed another machine crashed on top of me and hit my right shoulder.
The race was red flagged but as our machine had a big damage, we could not re-start. From now on, I will continue with the testing and be ready for 8 hour race,”

Results

Pos / Team / Riders / Laps / Bike / Time
1 / Yoshimura Suzuki with JOMO / Kosuke Akiyoshi(25 laps)/Yukio Kagayama (27 laps) / 52laps / Suzuki GSX-R1000 / 1:54’03.706 / 159.23km/h
2 / DREAM Honda Racing Team 11 / Ryuichi Kiyonari(25 laps)/Carlos Checa(27laps) / 52 laps / Honda CBR1000RR / 1:54’06.042
3 /Yoshimura Suzuki with DensoIRIDIUM POWER / Daisaku Sakai(25 laps)/AtsushiWatanabe(27 laps) / 52laps / Suzuki GSX-R1000/ 1:54’47.077
4 / YSP PRESTO Racing / Katsuyuki Nakasuga(52 laps) / Yamaha YZF-R1 / 1:55’02.192
5 / DREAM Honda Racing Team 33 / Jonathan Rea(24 laps)/Yusuke Teshima(28 laps) / 52 laps / Honda CBR1000RR / 1:55’15.704
6 / TEAM GREEN / Akira Yanagawa(52 laps) / Kawasaki ZX-10R / 1:55’17.066
7 / F.C.C.TSR / Takeshi Tsujimura(25laps)/Shinichi Ito(27 laps) / 52 laps / Honda CBR1000RR / 1:55’57.020
8 / Moriwaki MOTULRacing / Tatsuya Yamaguchi.(25 laps)./Cal Crutchrou(27laps) / 52 laps / Honda CBR1000RR / 1:56’07.926
9 / Team Sakurai Honda / Kazuma Tsuda(51 laps) / Honda CBR1000RR / 1:56’02.526 / 1Lap
10 / Y’s gear racing / Yuji Sato(31 laps)/Yuichi Takeda(20 laps) / 51laps / Yamaha YZF-R1/ 1:56’06.142