In Japan, the 42nd running of the Suzuka 8 Hours produced one of the most dramatic and intense battles ever which went right down to the wire. Nearly one third of the grid were campaigning the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, but all eyes were on the officially-supported teams of, amongst others, Red Bull Honda, reigning World Champions F.C.C. TSR Honda France, MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO and KYB Moriwaki Racing and Honda Endurance Racing.

There was forecast to be showers today, after yesterday’s typhoon cancelled the Top 10 qualifying shootout, but the race got underway in typically hot and humid Suzuka weather – 30 degrees Celsius and 90% humidity.

With a blistering opening lap, F.C.C. TSR Honda France took the lead for the first time across the line from 6th on the grid, with Red Bull Honda close behind. And so an incredible battle raged between the top five, who were split by less than a second after the first hour of racing.

As the race unfolded, and F.C.C. TSR Honda France held fourth, the top three battle intensified as. After five hours, 140 laps and nearly 1000km of racing, the top trio were split by just 1.5seconds as the pace was unrelenting.

At the seven hour mark, Red Bull Honda’s Takumi Takahashi rode brilliantly to overhauling a near-10sec deficit and take the lead of the famous race.

This duel continued through the last round of pitstops, and just in case there wasn’t sufficient drama the rain that had been forecast finally arrived in the final 30minutes and the teams waited nervously to see whether a final stop for wet tyres was required. Takahashi, who was at the end of a gruelling double-stint, dug deep in a remarkable display of grit and determination to finish third.

But the double-twist was still to come, as the leading #10 machine crashed on the final lap on a patch of oil, just as the rain worsened, causing a red flag. After an initial provisional result put Red Bull Honda second and F.C.C. TSR Honda France third, an investigation into the incident resulted in a reinstatement by the FIM of #10, leaving Red Bull Honda in their on-track position of third.

Fourth overall for F.C.C. TSR Honda France secures them second in the FIM Endurance World Championship, and the middle step of the Championship podium at this season finale event.

 

Suzuka 8 Hours

Suzuka Circuit, Japan

FIM EWC 2018-2019, Round 5

Sunday 28 Jul 2019, 11:12 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H Kawasaki 07:55:36,613
2 Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha +18,720
3 Red Bull Honda Honda +1:06,727
4 F.C.C. TSR Honda France Honda +1 Lap
5 Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing Suzuki +1 Lap
6 YART Yamaha +2 Lap
7 MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO. Honda Honda +3 Lap
8 S-Pulse Dream Racing Suzuki +5 Lap
9 KYB Moriwaki Racing Honda +5 Lap
10 Honda DREAM RT SAKURAI HONDA Honda +5 Lap
11 Honda Asia-Dream Racing Honda +6 Lap
12 Team SRC Kawasaki France Kawasaki +7 Lap
13 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +7 Lap
14 Tone RT Syncedge 4413 BMW +9 Lap
15 Bolliger Team Switzerland #8 Kawasaki +9 Lap
16 ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance BMW +9 Lap
Friday 26 Jul 2019, 09:17 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha 2:06.619
2 Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H Kawasaki +0.014
3 Red Bull Honda Honda +0.487
4 MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO. Honda Honda +0.564
5 Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing Suzuki +0.568
6 YART Yamaha +0.690
7 F.C.C. TSR Honda France Honda +0.859
8 au Teluru SAG RT Honda +1.297
9 S-Pulse Dream Racing Suzuki +1.692
10 KYB Moriwaki Racing Honda +2.139
11 KRP SANYOUKOGYO & will raise RS-ITOH +2.420
12 Honda Suzuka Racing Team Honda +2.569
13 VRD Igol Pierret Experiences Yamaha +2.668
14 Team SRC Kawasaki France Kawasaki +2.875
15 TK SUZUKI BLUE MAX Suzuki +2.934
16 Moto Map SWAT Suzuki +3.012
17 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki +3.074
18 Tone RT Syncedge 4413 BMW +3.289
19 Honda Asia-Dream Racing Honda +3.428
20 Team ATJ with JAPAN POST Honda +3.497
21 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +3.571
Friday 26 Jul 2019, 04:43 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Red Bull Honda Honda 2:06.090
2 Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H Kawasaki +0.810
3 MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO. Honda Honda +1.111
4 YAMAHA FACTORY RACING TEAM Yamaha +1.477
5 YART Yamaha +1.852
6 Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing Suzuki +2.331
7 F.C.C. TSR Honda France Honda +2.534
8 au Teluru SAG RT Honda +2.544
9 S-Pulse Dream Racing Suzuki +2.981
10 Honda Suzuka Racing Team Honda +2.985
11 KYB Moriwaki Racing Honda +3.263
12 Team SRC Kawasaki France Kawasaki +3.355
19 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +4.390