Riders today entered in the second, 20-minute qualifying session to improve their grid positions in the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race (Suzuka 8 Hours). Combined with the first qualifying session results from yesterday, the average times of the fastest laps by the two fastest riders in each team determined the provisional ranking for the top 10 trial.

As temperatures began to rise in the morning, the second qualifying session for Riders Blue kicked off. YART – YAMAHA OFFICIAL TEAM EWC (Yamaha) set the fastest lap, 2 min 5.948s. Team HRC with Japan Post (Takumi Takahashi / Tetsuta Nagashima / Xavi Vierge) was also fast from the outset, with Nagashima setting the second fastest time of 2 min 6.235s. Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing (Kosuke Sakumoto / Ryo Mizuno / Kazuma Watanabe) was third with Mizuno’s 2 min 6.730s lap, and SDG Honda Racing (Teppei Nagoe / Naomichi Uramoto / Haruki Noguchi) was fifth with Uramoto’s 2 min 7.146s lap.

In the second Rider Yellow qualifying session, Honda’s best performer was Honda Dream RT SAKURAI Honda (Kazuki Ito / Daijiro Hiura / Kota Arakawa) in third with Hiura’s 2 min 7.454s lap. Team HRC with Japan Post’s Takahashi set the fifth fastest time of the session, 2 min 7.532s.

In the second Rider Red qualifying session, TOHO Racing (Ryuichi Kiyonari / Takuma Kunimine / Ikuhiro Enokido) put in an outstanding performance, as Enokido set the second-fastest lap at 2 min 6.942s. Team HRC with Japan Post was third fastest with 2 min 6.976s set by Vierge. SDG Honda Racing’s Noguchi was fifth-fastest, followed by Honda Dream RT SAKURAI Honda‘s Arakawa sixth. F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Mike Di Meglio / Alan Techer / Tarran Mackenzie) had a tough session with Mackenzie crashing at the S-bend, although he managed to get back up and return to the pits.

Once the first and second qualifying sessions were complete, teams proceeding to the Top 10 Trial were announced: Team HRC with Japan Post was second-fastest, Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing fourth, TOHO Racing fifth, SDG Honda Racing sixth, F.C.C. TSR Honda France eighth, and Honda Dream RT SAKURAI Honda tenth. Six Honda teams had made it into the Top 10 Trial.

For the first time in six years, the Top 10 Trial was  actually held. Unique to the Suzuka 8 Hours, the final top 10 grid is determined by one hot lap each by two riders selected by their teams, on a completely clear track, with each rider’s choice of song playing for the spectators.

First on track was Honda Dream RT SAKURAI Honda’s Arakawa, who clocked a 2 min 7.282 lap. F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Mackenzie looked as if he would set his personal best lap, but crashed. SDG Honda Racing’s Noguchi seemed to battle with the bike’s rear end at times, but regained composure to set a 2 min 8.046s lap. Arakawa was at the top of the leader board, but his teammate Hiura changed that with a 2 min 6.970s lap. AutoRace Ube Racing Team (Suzuki) then clocked in at 2 min 6.811s, better than Hiura, but SDG Honda Racing’s Uramoto then set a 2 min 6.644 lap. Team HRC with Japan Post’s Vierge then set a 2 min 5.919s lap for provisional pole. TOHO Racing’s Enokido clocked in at 2 min 6.343s, third fastest.

After that, Team HRC with Japan Post’s Nagashima set a blistering 2 min 5.329s lap which was insurmountable, giving the team its second pole position in two years.

The final Top 10 Trial results and grid positions were: Team HRC with Japan Posts on pole, TOHO Racing third, SDG Honda Racing fourth, Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing sixth, Honda Dream RT SAKURAI Honda eighth, F.C.C. TSR Honda France tenth. Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA will start from 16th grid.

The Suzuka 8 Hours race will start in its traditional Le Mans-style at 11:30 am on August 6 (Sun).

Full Results *Courtesy of EWC


44th “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race, 04 – 06 August 2023
Top 10 Trial Classification on the best lap
Final Ranking
Pos. No. Team Nat Bike Model B. Lap In lap Gap 1st Gap prev
1 33 Team HRC with Japan Post JPN Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP 2:05.329 5
2 7 YART Yamaha Official EWC TEAM AUT Yamaha YZF-R1 2:05.519 2 0.190 0.190
3 104 TOHO Racing JPN Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP 2:06.343 5 1.014 0.824
4 73 SDG Honda Racing JPN Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade 2:06.644 5 1.315 0.301
5 12 Yoshimura SERT Motul FRA Suzuki GSX-R1000R 2:06.720 5 1.391 0.076
6 17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing JPN Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade 2:06.756 5 1.427 0.036
7 76 AutoRace Ube Racing Team JPN Suzuki GSX-R1000R 2:06.811 5 1.482 0.055
8 71 Honda Dream RT SAKURAI HONDA JPN Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade 2:06.970 5 1.641 0.159
9 95 S-PLUSE DREAM RACING -ITEC JPN Suzuki GSX-R1000R 2:07.780 2 2.451 0.810
10 1 F.C.C. TSR Honda France JPN Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP 2:07.788 3 2.459 0.008
B. Lap : 2:05.329 (167.2 km/h), (No.33) NAGASHIMA Tetsuta *

Private: Tetsuta Nagashima 33

I’m relieved to be back. I was injured, and during the time I couldn't ride, I felt depressed. But I was determined to ride, no matter what. I am grateful to the team for making the decision to let me race. I will do my best in the race to prove they made the right choice.

Private: Xavi Vierge 33

Tetsu's riding in Sector 1 during the Top 10 Trial was amazing. He was riding as if he was going straight through, and I would like to learn how to ride like that. I would like to thank Takumi who made it possible for me to compete in the Top 10 Trial. I thank him because he believed in me. It was very exciting and fun. Tetsu set the fastest time and we’re on pole position, so we will go for the win!

Takumi Takahashi 30

I wasn’t in the Top 10 Trial, so I was watching from the pits. Tetsuta was able to get into the 2 min 5s range on his hot lap. Xavi also set a good time even though it was his first Top 10. Both of them worked hard today, so I hope to do my part in the race and contribute to the team.