On July 5, Day 1 of joint tests for the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race 44th Tournament (Suzuka 8 Hours) was held at the Suzuka Circuit. Tetsuta Nagashima, back from injury, set the fastest lap time at Suzuka 8 Hours Joint Test Day 1

Last year, Team HRC’s Tetsuta Nagashima, Takumi Takahashi, and Iker Lecuona achieved Honda’s first Suzuka 8 Hours victory in eight years. This season, the team will be aiming to defend the title with Superbike World Championship (WSBK) riders Lecuona and Xavi Vierge, and All Japan Road Race Championship (JRR) ST1000 class rider Takahashi. In addition to these riders, Tetsuta Nagashima, who contributed to last year’s victory, participated in today’s test, bringing the total number of riders in the pit to four.

The participating 47 bikes were divided into groups A and B. Each group was allocated their own 45-minute Session 1 in the morning, followed by a 45-minute Session 2 in the afternoon, and a 75-minute Session 3. Each group also participated in a 70-minute night session.

Although Session 1 ran under dry conditions, rain began to fall in Session 2, and Session 3 was completely wet. With rain continuing during the night session, only 12 teams participated, many of which soon returned to the pits after only a few laps.

Team HRC’s shakedown for the Suzuka 8 Hours was also aimed at confirming Nagashima’s recovery from injury. Each of the other three riders were also allotted track time in dry conditions, setting lap times. For the wet sessions, the Japanese riders were more familiar with the particular track conditions, so track time was allocated to the Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge instead. Due to heavy rainfall, the team did not go out on track for the night session. Despite the short time they were able to run in the dry, Team HRC riders were highly impressive.

In Session 1, Nagashima set the fastest lap of 2 min 06.258s, followed by Lecuona second-fastest with 2 min 07.619s. Takahashi and Vjerge both lapped in the 2’08 range during their short time on track, showing their competitiveness. Third-fastest was Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing (Kosuke Sakumoto / Ryo Mizuno / Kazuma Watanabe) with 2 min 07.730s. F.C.C. TSR Honda France was sixth with a 2 min 08.325s lap, followed by SDG Honda France in 10th with 2 min 08.325s. Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA was 19th-fastest with a time of 2 min 10.006s.

Team HRC was fastest yet again in Session 2. In Session 3, in wet conditions, Honda Dream RT SAKURAI Honda (Kazuki Ito / Daijiro Hiura / Kouta Arakawa) set the top time of 2 min 22.451s. Team HRC was fourth-fastest for the session.


Takumi Takahashi 33

I only did seven or eight laps today, and in terms of real riding feel, about five laps. We planned to break-in the bike and do some solid laps in Session 3, but it turned out to be raining. Since many Japanese riders have experience with Suzuka Circuit in the rain, our two overseas teammates rode the wet sessions instead. Tomorrow we’re planning to check everything we couldn’t today, before going on long runs in preparation for the race.

Tetsuta Nagashima

Rider, MotoGP

I am really happy to ride at Suzuka again. In the morning, I was able to record a 2 min 07.6s lap in the dry. In the afternoon, we ran in the rain, and I was able to check the rain condition, so I think it was a good test. The weather will improve tomorrow, so I hope to improve my lap time a little more and do some long runs to meet my target average.

Xavi Vierge 33

Like Iker, I am happy to be back in Suzuka. We’re on a different tire manufacturer to WSBK, so that’s what I focused on. I am feeling positive because I was able to experience both dry and wet conditions, but I only did three laps in the dry, so I hope to do more tomorrow. I will ride hard aiming for my target average times.

Tetsuta Nagashima 33

This was my first time since my injury, so I rode to see how well I’ve recovered. I prepared to show that I could ride well here, so I was able to do 2 min 06.2s at the start of my run. I could have done better if I wanted, but it wasn’t a hot lap, so I could confirm my riding was ok. My aim for tomorrow is showing that I’m race-fit.

Location Information

SUZUKA 8HOURS ESSENTIAL* Name: SUZUKA CIRCUIT Location: 7992 Ino-Cho, Suzuka-shi, Mie-ken 510-0295, Japan Track length: 5.821 kilometres Race distance: 8 hours Official website Suzuka Circuit Suzuka Circuit Operated by Honda-owned Mobilityland, Suzuka features a unique figure-of-eight layout and presents a considerable challenge for riders thanks to its wide variety of corners.… read more.

7992 Inoucho, Suzuka, Mie, Japan - View in Google Maps


POLE POSITION RECORD 2'04.934s Team HRC - Tetsuta Nagashima - Honda CBR1000RR-R SP (2022)
RACE RECORD 2'06.805s Kawasaki Racing Team - Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki ZX10RR  (2019)