CycleOnline.com.au details the Aussie riders contesting the 2017 running.
The 40th running of the prestigious Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours is just days away and it’s set to host a large selection of Australian riders amongst the talented international field. This year will see the return of many familiar faces, along with several previous podium finishers. In this week’s Top 10 feature, CycleOnline.com.au has listed the 10 Australian that will contend the Japanese event.
1. Jack Miller:
Australian MotoGP favourite Jack Miller will race under the prestigious MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda organisation, piloting the CBR1000RR SP2 alongside Japanese duo Takumi Takahashi – a three-time winner at Suzuka – and Moto2 regular Takaaki Nakagami. It’s a highly talented squad with strong potential for a podium and even victory, would be a massive achievement for the factory on debut with the all-new Fireblade released this year.
2. Broc Parkes:
An Endurance World Championship regular, Broc Parkes’ YART Yamaha Official EWC Team is in the hunt for the title and if his pre-race comments are anything to go by, the team will be laying it on the line to get the job done. Assisting him to a hopeful win will be Marvin Fritz and Kohta Nozane and while their YZF-R1 isn’t identical to the Yamaha Factory Racing entry that’s won for the past two years, they will have a competitive package.
3. Josh Brookes:
Third in 2016, ever-versatile Australian international Josh Brookes has been welcomed back to the Yoshimura Suzuki team for this year’s 40th edition. Brookes will share the GSX-R1000 with local Japanese rider Takuya Tsuda and Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, in hopes of adding another Suzuka podium to his name. And we’re not ruling out a potential victory come Sunday!
4. Jason O’Halloran:
British Superbike Championship contender Jason O’Halloran will join countryman Stauffer at Honda Dream RT Sakurai, along with Japanese local Mizuno. There’s no doubt O’Halloran will lead the team with his experience and skill, and following a recent test at the circuit, he’s primed for the weekend. Where he will end up is largely dependent on the machinery beneath him and – again – consistency.
5. Josh Hook:
Josh Hook was second at the 2015 Suzuka 8 Hours and he’s confident he can do it again after receiving the last minute call up to replace Stefan Bradl at F.C.C. TSR Honda. Teamed up with Dominique Aegerter – who joined him on the podium two years ago – and Randy de Puniet on the factory-backed squad, they’re destined for a solid result.
6. Josh Waters:
Fresh off a dominant ASBK victory in Darwin, Josh Waters will head up the MotoMap Supply Suzuki alongside Nobuatsu Aoki and Yoshihiro Konno for the second year running. They’re definitely an experienced squad and after placing fifth in the 2016 edition, Waters – a Suzuka podium finisher in 2011 and 2014 – and the MotoMap team are sure to be vying for a similar position again this Sunday.
7. Anthony West:
The Suzuka 8 Hours will add to Anthony West’s varying events and championships he’s contested in 2017. He’s always a strong rider no matter what equipment he’s using, which will be with the familiar Akeno Speed Yamaha outfit – the team he races with in the Asia Road Racing Championship. He’ll be paired up with Makoto Inagaki and Alex Schacht aboard a Superstock-spec Yamaha R1.
8. Damian Cudlin:
A regular at TSR Honda in the European rounds, Damian Cudlin has been drafted into the Team SuP Dream Honda outfit alongside Shinichi Ito and Gregg Black. Cudlin is no stranger to the Japanese circuit, along with his two teammates, who are strong contenders for a pleasing finish as long as they have consistency on their side.
9. Mark Aitchison:
A former WorldSBK contender, now competing regularly in Asia, Mark Aitchison has been signed by Team JP DFR & RS-ITOH Kawasaki to race the Japanese event with Masahiro Shinjo and Kazuki Watanabe. The outfit will be aiming for a modest finish, however it’s unlikely to see the Australian and his teammates factor right up front.
10. Jamie Stauffer:
Dual Australian Superbike Champion Jamie Stauffer will make his long awaited return to racing at Suzuka, where he’ll be teamed up with fellow Aussie Jason O’Halloran and Japanese racer Ryo Mizuno under the Honda Dream RT Sakurai outfit. The event will mark his first racing appearance since the Australian grand prix last year, so it’s unclear how quickly he’ll return to form.