2012 Suzuka 8 Hours podium with F.C.C. TSR Honda (center) in first, TOHO Racing with Moriwaki (left) in second and Yamaha France GMT (right) in third.
The F.C.C. TSR Honda team, comprised of Kosuke Akiyoshi and Honda World Superbike rider Jonathan Rea, took home the win in the prestigious Suzuka 8-hours World Endurance race in Japan. Rea also earned the honor of being the first British rider to ever win the event. The F.C.C. TSR duo was followed by Honda of TOHO Racing’s Tatsuya Yamaguchi, Yuki Takahashi and Yusuke Teshima in second and Yamaha France GMT’s David Checa and Kenny Foray in third. Honda marked its 25th Suzuka 8-hour victory and the sixth for the CBR1000RR Fireblade.
“I’m so happy to get a win in such a huge race as the Suzuka 8-hours,” said Rea. “I really appreciate the efforts of Kosuke Akiyoshi, Tady Okada, Honda and all the F.C.C. TSR team staff. Kosuke was riding very, very fast, and Tady gave me a lot of really useful advice. I want to thank them both so much.”
Rea and Akiyoshi came in with a four-lap lead at the end, owing largely to the struggles of the other teams through the grueling event. The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, currently leading the WEC in points, fell back after Vincent Philippe crashed and finished in 15th. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent fell victim to a faulty electronic sensor and fell back to ninth by the finish and the Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team failed to finish at all after they found an oil leak late in the race. Monster Energy Yamaha YART opened in pole position, but half-an-hour into the race Katsuyuki Nakusuga crashed and opened up the front for the Honda teams.
The MuSASHI RT HARC-PRO team, also aboard a Honda CBR1000RR, was in the running for first late in the race, battling with the F.C.C. team as well as Yoshimura Suzuki. MuSASHI riders Ryuichi Kiyonari and Hiroshi Aoyama (Rea’s World Superbike teammate) fell off the top spot when Kiyonari crashed in the sixth hour. By the end of the sixth hour, the F.C.C . team had a one lap lead that they continued to extend to the finish.
Moto Map Supply placed fourth followed by the Honda Suzuka Racing Team in fifth and Honda DREAM RT SAKURAI in sixth. Teluru & EMOBILE Kohara RT took seventh with Team Motorrad 39 in eighth, BMW Motorrad France 99 finished ninth and Honda TT Legends rounded out the top ten.
Second in championship points, the TT Legends team was pleased with their performance at Suzuka. John McGuinness, Cameron Donald and Jason O’Halloran piloted the Honda Fireblade through the sweltering conditions with little trouble.
“Last year we didn’t get past the first hour so to finish this year is a great achievement,” explained McGuinness. “To come here with no testing, race against some of the best endurance riders in the world and come tenth is great. It’s been a tough old day, but I’m pleased. I did three stints with no mistakes and I really enjoyed the race to be honest. It was red hot but it was great. The team did a good job, the ABS and everything on the bike worked like a dream and overall it’s a fantastic package. We’ve scored some valuable points and with two rounds to go we’re in a good position.”
The next World Endurance Championship round is scheduled for August 11-12th at Oschersleben in Germany.
Suzuka 8 Hour Results 2012:
1. F.C.C TSR Honda (J. Rea, K.Akiyoshi, T. Okada)
2. TOHO Racing with Moriwaki (T. Yamaguchi, Y. Takahashi, Y. Teshima)
3. Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube (D. Checa, K. Foray)
4. Moto Map Supply (Y. Konno, T. Tsuda, A. Tamitsuji)
5. Honda Suzuka Racing Team (K. Tokudome, T. Yasuda, K. Kitaguchi)
6. Honda DREAM RT SAKURAI Honda (J. Stauffer, W. Maxwell)
7. Teluru & EMOBILE Kohara RT (T. Tsujimura, H. Noda, K. Watanabe)
8. Team Mottorad 39 (K. Teramoto, D. Sakai, K. Yagi)
9. BMW Motorrad France 99 (S. Gimbert, D. Cudlin, E. Nigon)
10. Honda TT Legends (C. Donald, J. McGuinness, J. O’Halloran)
World Endurance Championship Points:
1. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, 60
2. Honda TT Legends, 55
3. Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube, 49
4. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent, 47
5. Team SRC Kawasaki, 40
6. Bolliger Team Switzerland, 39
7. Yamalube Folch Endurance, 37
8. FCC TSR Honda, 35
9. Toho Racing with Moriwaki, 29
10. Monster Energy Yamaha YART, 28