Suzuka 8H 2019 – Vorschau

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Zunächst zur Einstimmung ein Video-Rückblick vom letzjährigen Suzuka 8H-Rennen.

Die Highlights des letzten Jahres im Video.

Am kommenden Wochenende ist Suzuka wieder das Finalrennen der jahresübergreifenden Endurance-Saison 2018/19. Die Werke fahren ums Prestige und den Gesamtsieg, die permanenten Teams um den WM-Titel.  SRC-Kawasaki führt mit 132 Zählern die WM-Tabelle an, vor SERT-Suzuki (127) und FCC TSR-Honda (109), Wepol-Racing (101) und YART-Yamaha (88).

Die Honda-Teams. Von Links: FCC TSR Honda France (#1), Honda Racing (#111), Red Bull Honda mit Takahasi/Kiyonari/Bradl #33), Moriwaki-Honda (#19), MuSashi RT Harc Pro Honda mit Mizuno, Aegerter, Forés (#634) und Honda Asia Dream Racing (#22).
Auf der Jagd nach dem 5. Sieg in Folge: Yamaha Factory Racing im Retro-Shiseido-Look aus den 80er Jahren, um an den ersten Yamaha-Sieg beim 8H-Event zu erinnern und an das 21-jährige Jubiläum der YZF-R1. Fahrer: Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes und Michael vd Mark. 
SERT-Suzuki (#2) kommt als WM-Zweiter nach Suzuka. Teamchef Dominique Meliand, der sich nach 40 Jahren Endurance-Stress nach dem Event in den Ruhestand verabschieden wird: »It’s tough to make any predictions about Suzuka because of the weather conditions, and because the Japanese are out to win a race, not the championship. Kawasaki have it easy as standings leader; they just need to stick behind us to pick up the title. So maxing out the throttle is our only possible option. If we hadn’t had two crashes at Oschersleben, we’d have got to Suzuka as standings leader. But we and Kawasaki SRC are both up against another problem, and that’s the strategy of the Honda #1. They’ve got nothing to loose, and they’ll be going all out to score a podium finish. The race will be an interesting watch from the outside but stressful from the inside, and of course the points inflation format could shake up the standings.«
WM-Leader SRC-Kawasaki mit Erwan Nigon im Sattel. Teamchef Gilles Stafler: »There’s a race to finish and we’ll have to stay on the bike, but I’d rather be chased than give chase. We’re going to get out there and race, but we’ll also have to keep checking our progress against Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and F.C.C. TSR Honda France. By my reckoning, if Dominique (Meliand, team manager of SERT) is ahead of us, I’ll have to finish no further than three places behind him if he’s not in the top 5. F.C.C. TSR Honda France would be a real danger if they were to win the race. In that case, we would have to finish in the Top 6. It’s the first time we’re going to Suzuka with a really excellent bike. All we do now is make minor adjustments at each race to get great performance and versatility out of the machine. The Suter swingarm we’ve been using since the 2019 24 Heures Motos has given us a few pluses in terms of managing tyre wear and the way the bike behaves overall. We now have a good bike for Suzuka
Titelverteidiger FCC TSR Honda, hier mit Josh Hook im Sattel, muss flatout angreifen, wenn der Titel noch eingesackt werden soll. Teammanager Masakazu Fujii: »Our aim is of course to claim the title once again and we will fight as usual here in Suzuka on our ground. We need to get some points from the qualification [points awarded for the first five grid positions] and our goal is to finish on the podium. We do have some advantages with Bridgestone tyres here in Suzuka against our title competitors but on the other hand, all the top Japanese factory teams are also using Bridgestone tyres, and in any case it will be a very difficult and competitive race again this year.«
Das offizielle Kawasaki Racing Team (#10) fährt wieder schwerstes Geschütz auf, um nach einigen Podestplätzen den Pott ganz oben abzugreifen. In den Lenker beissen die drei WM-Superbiker Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam und (im Bild bei Vortests) Toprak Razgatlioglu.
YART-Yamaha (#7) reisst wie gewohnt mit Broc Parkes, Niccolo Canepa und Marvin Fritz am Kabel. Teamchef Mandy Kaiz nach den Vortests in Suzuka: »We got both wet and dry track time, we did fast lap times, we had no big problems and no crashes, so it was great overall. I think we’ve put together a really strong machine. We just need to go into the race and do our best. We’ve got to give it our full effort and fight hard.«
Neue Besetzung: Nach Verletzungspech von Roman Stamm und Sébastien Suchet: Auf die Bolliger.Kawasaki steigen in Suzuka Nigel Walraven, Danny Buchan und Osamu Deguchi.
Yoshimura-Suzuki (#12) greift grimmig an mit Yukio Katayama, Sylvain Guintoli und Kazuki Watanabe. Yukio sagt: »Dealing with the heat is a key factor at the Suzuka 8 Hours and is an important testing subject. On the second day of the testing the track surface temperature reached around 45 degrees which allowed us to set up the machine with the race in mind. It’s the first time for Sylvain and Kazuki to be on the same team but the adjustments were easy and proceeded well. Rain on the last day was also a plus. We were able to feel the potential of the Bridgestone wet tyres.« Und Teammangaer Yohei Kato fügt hinzu:  »We developed two types of bikes for the first test in June, to make a benchmark to find the areas we need to work on. At this test the three riders worked hard to assess the test menu we had proposed, and we were able to make a solid step-up. I think we are now close to having a well-balanced machine, and I think these sure-footed efforts is what makes the Yoshimura team so competitive.«
Immer mittendrin: Das deutsche Motobox Kremer Yamaha Team (#65) mit Geoffroy Dehaye, Jan Viehmann und Greg Ortiz.
Bastian Mackels hilft wie in Oschersleben auch in Japan beim japanisch-französischen Eva RT Webike Tati Beaujolais Team Trickstar auf der ZX-10R Kawasaki aus.
S Pulse Dream Racing IAI setzt eine Suzuki unter Hideyuki Ogata, Tommy Bridewell und Bradley Ray (im Bild) ein.
WM-Leader und Titelverteidiger: Die FCC TSR Honda Fireblade.
Das Hamamatsu Team Titan (Suzuki) mit Takeda, Kambayashi, Wada.
Suzuka: Immer rund ums Riesenrad.
Lichtspiele. Suzuka wird mittag gestartet und endet in der Nacht bei Dunkelheit.

Fotos: Buenos Dias, Honda, Suzuki-Racing, Yamaha, Kawasaki.

Video via Youtube

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Gerhard Rudolph, fährt Honda CB 1300 und am liebsten Jethelm mit dunklem Visier.

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