The Honda Musashi Harc-Pro took the best from the first qualifying session of Suzuka 8 Hours ahead of the Honda FCC TSR and the Suzuki Yoshimura. Despite pessimistic weather forecast, the first qualifications were held on a dry track. Yesterday, on a wet track, the same three Japanese teams were in a different order at the top of the free practice. These three teams, the only this morning to complete a lap below 2’08, thus becoming the favorite for victory at the 32nd Suzuka 8 Hours, fourth round of the Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship.
In fourth position, the Suzuki Plot Faro Panthera recorded his best lap in 2’10.011, just ahead of the Trick Star Racing, the only Kawasaki ranked in the top ten. In 2’11 are then the Honda Teluru Honeybee Racing, Honda Dream Sakurai, Suzuki Ohnishi Heat Magic and the Suzuki Team MIIR.
In tenth place of the first qualification, due to a great lap of Gwen Giabbani, the Yamaha Austria Racing Team enters in the top 10 and takes an option for the “Special Stage”, a kind of Superpole specific to Suzuka 8 Hours and open to the best ten teams after the qualifications. The “Special Stage” is open to two riders from each team and reallocates the positions on the final starting grid.
Another particularity from the Japanese classic: the qualifying time is the best individual lap from a rider, and not the average of the three riders of the team. The two others permanent teams at the Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship, Phase One Endurance and BK Maco Moto Racing Team, both on Yamaha, are in the middle of the pack. The
only women rider, the French Magali Langlois, who is discovering Suzuka, is outside of the qualifying time at the moment.
The second qualifying session will take place this Friday afternoon. The “Special Stage” is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The start of Suzuka 8 Hours will be done Sunday at 11:30 am local time (GMT + 8).
2009 Suzuka 8 Hours
Best qualification times after first session.
1. Musashi RT Harc-Pro 634 (JPN/Honda/T. Yasuda, T. Yamaguchi, Y. Konishi) 2’08.305
2. FCC TSR Honda 1 (JPN/Honda/K. Akiyoshi, S. Ito, Y. Teshima) 2’08.591
3. Yoshimura Suzuki 12 (JPN/Suzuki/D. Sakai, K. Tokudome, N. Aoki ) 2’08.830
4. Plot Faro Panthera 48 (JPN/Suzuki/O. Deguchi, K. Teramoto) 2’10.011
5. Trick Star Racing 5 (JPN/Kawasaki/H. Izutsu, S. Takeishi, R.Tsuruta) 2’10.290
6. Teluru Honeybee Racing 99 (JPN/Honda/H. Noda, T. Sekiguchi) 2’11.257
7. Honda Dream Sakurai 2 (JPN/Honda/T. Takahashi, C. Kameya) 2’11.355
8. Ohnishi Heat Magic 20 (JPN/Suzuki/T. Ohnishi, Y. Hatano) 2’11.458
9. Team MII R 77 (JPN/Suzuki/ T.Hamaguchi, K. Kanayama) 2’11.508
10. Yamaha Austria 7 (AUT/Yamaha/I. Jerman, S. Martin, G. Giabbani) 2’11.638
Phase One Endurance 3 (GBR/Yamaha/G. Gowland, P. Vallcaneras, D. Cudlin) 2’15.194
BK Maco Moto 14 (SVK/Yamaha/D. Ribalta, J. Pridmore) 2’15.985