Multiple Australian riders to contend prestigious event in Japan.
A host of teams and manufacturers have revealed the riders that will line-up at the 2018 Suzuka 8 Hours in Japan as the field begins to take shape for the 29 July event.
Yamaha has two objectives for the race in Japan – a fourth win for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, who will be fielding Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, and a second consecutive FIM Endurance world championship title for GMT94 Yamaha.
David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Mike Di Meglio will defend the French team’s world title, while YART Yamaha’s Marvin Fritz, Takuya Fujita and Australian Broc Parkes set out to wind up the season in style.
Team HRC is returning to the fray after a 10-year absence, with Takumi Takahashi, Takaaki Nakagami and Leon Camier in the saddle of the CBR1000RR SP2. Like Yamaha, Honda is looking not just to win the Suzuka 8 Hours with the factory machine, but also to earn a first-ever world championship title for a Japanese team F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who arrive in Suzuka at the top of the standings with rider trio Freddy Foray, Aussie Josh Hook and Alan Techer.
A veritable fleet of Hondas will be lining up on the grid, including Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda (Dominique Aegerter, PJ Jacobsen and Ryo Mizuno), a three-time winner at Suzuka KYB Moriwaki Motul Racing (Ryuichi Kiyonari, Yuki Takahashi and Dan Linfoot), Au&Teluru MotoUp RT (Kosuke Akiyoshi, Tetsuta Nagashima and Isaac Viñales) and Honda Dream RT Sakurai (Sodo Hamahara and Shinichi Ito).
Current Australian Superbike Championship leader Troy Herfoss will also be in the mix representing Honda Asia-Dream Racing, lining up alongside Md. Zaqhwan Zaidi and Andi Farid Izdihar.
Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing will be the Suzuki spearhead, with Takuya Tsuda, Sylvain Guintoli, Bradley Ray and Kazuki Watanabe riding. MotoMapSupply’s GSX-R with Yoshihiro Konno, Australian Josh Waters and Nobuatsu Aoki in the saddle will also be worth keeping an eye on, not to mention Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black), who will be going all out to wrest back a spot in the championship Top 5.
The Kawasaki clan have already made a splash by announcing the Kawasaki Team Green line-up with Kazuma Watanabe, Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam. Eva RT Webike Trick Star, who will yet another Australian Anthony West and Osamu Deguchi, will also be flying the flag for Kawasaki.
Mercury Racing (Karel Hanika) and NRT48 (Kenny Foray, Peter Hickman and Julien da Costa) will be competing to be the best-placed BMW in the championship standings, but two other S1000RR-mounted teams – BMW Motorrad 39 (Daisaku Sakai with Australian brothers Damian and Alex Cudlin) and BMW Financial Services (Shinya Takeishi, Michael Laverty and Christian Iddon) are worth keeping an eye on too.