8h Suzuka: Jonathan Rea sets the new lap record

Since 1978, Suzuka Circuit has been reuniting people from different championships in every single summer. Riders from MotoGP, World Superbike, the main national championships and All Japan take part, all together, in the most important race for Japanese manufacturers, where every detail can make the difference. The history of Suzuka 8 Hours is usually written in the race, and not in Top 10 Trials or Friday Qualifying sessions, but today something incredible happened. Jonathan Rea set the new Suzuka 8 Hours lap record, by riding the almost 6,000 metres of the track in 2’05″168. This time is almost one second lower than 2015 Pole Position (set by Pol Espargaró in 2’06″000) and the gap between the Northern Irish and Katsuyuki Nakasuga amounts to even one second. The Jap, in any case, is very competitive at Suzuka and this is proven by the fact he could set a lap in 2’04″786 last April, on an All Japan-spec Yamaha.

The King of World Superbike did something special and…unexpected! The arrival of Jongdari storm may affect the Top 10 Trials and even the race and so Jonathan Rea has decided to leave his trace in history already in Qualifying Practice. The three times World Superbike Champion is back in Japan after a four-year absence and the reason of such comeback is a mission: to win Suzuka 8 Hours with Kawasaki Team Green and, especially, without being the man to beat. If he wants to win, he has to rely also on his team-mates Leon Haslam (2’06″636) and Kazuma Watanabe (2’07″541), but meanwhile he’s showing his skills once again: he did set the new 8 Hours lap record on race tyres, not on the Top 10 Trials ones…

Thanks to Rea, Kawasaki Team Green secured first position in Qualifying Practice before Top 10 Trials, a “Superpole” session contested by the best ten teams in Qualifying ranking. If Jongdari doesn’t come, Rea will be the last rider to hit the track in the session, waiting for Yamaha Factory to react. Today the blue squad finished second with an average time of 2’06″770, coming from the laps performed by Katsuyuki Nakasuga (2’06″263), Alex Lowes (2’06″620) and Michael van der Mark (2’07″428). Overall, they were 322 milliseconds slower than Team Green’s average time.

Behind the front duo, Team HRC took Honda CBR 1000RRW in third place, thanks to Takumi Takahashi (2’06″775), Takaaki Nakagami (2’07″195) and PJ Jacobsen (2’08″150), while Yoshimura Suzuki (where Tsuda was faster than Bradley Ray and Sylvain Guintoli) ranked fourth ahead of HARC-PRO Honda (Dominique Aegerter, Randy De Puniet e Ryo Mizuno). Top 10 Trials will see on the track also S-Pulse Suzuki (great lap by Kazuki Watanabe), au & Teluru MotoUP Honda, YART Yamaha, Moriwaki Honda and SuP Dream Honda, but not the teams fighting for FIM EWC title: F.C.C. TSR Honda and GMT94 Yamaha will start the race from 12th and 14th position.

Coca Cola Suzuka 8 hours 2018
Combined Qualifying Classification (Top-15)

01- Kawasaki Team Green – Kawasaki ZX-10RR – 2’06.448
02- Yamaha Factory Racing Team – Yamaha YZF R1 – 2’06.770
03- Red Bull Honda with Japan Post – Honda CBR 1000RRW – 2’07.373
04- Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing – Suzuki GSX-R 1000 – 2’07.588
05- MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda – Honda CBR 1000RR – 2’07.896
06- S-Pulse Dream Racing IAI – Suzuki GSX-R 1000 – 2’08.153
07- au & Teluru MotoUP RT – Honda CBR 1000RR – 2’08.184
08- YART Yamaha – Yamaha YZF R1 – 2’08.239
09- KYB Moriwaki Motul Racing – Honda CBR 1000RR – 2’08.397
10- Team SuP Dream Honda – Honda CBR 1000RR – 2’08.765
11- Honda Asia Dream Racing – Honda CBR 1000RR – 2’08.921
12- F.C.C. TSR Honda France – Honda CBR 1000RR – 2’09.092
13- Team Kagayama U.S.A. – Suzuki GSX-R 1000 – 2’09.237
14- GMT94 Yamaha – Yamaha YZF R1 – 2’09.296
15- BMW Motorrad39 – BMW S1000RR – 2’10.130

The fastest ten teams go to Top 10 Trials

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