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Action shots of our athletes at Suzuka 8 hour, Japan

Yamaha rule special Suzuka 8hr for tremendous triple

Jul 312017

Intense heat and humidity, one of the most famous race tracks in Japan, passionate fans and following (128,000 of them) with a unique vibe, a few star names and some sumptuous factory spec motorcycle machinery: there are plenty of reasons why the Suzuka 8 hour holds a special slot on the international calendar. 

The very same elements came together this weekend for the 40th edition of the chase from late Sunday morning to early evening and for the third year in a row the Yamaha Factory Racing effort – with the three man crew of Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga – triumphed in a demanding climate and after setting off from Pole Position.

Perhaps one of the most startling aspects of the performance among the trio was Lowes’ fantastic effort to shatter the five-year-old lap-record for the event twice in his run to keep the distinctive blue R1 ahead of the pack. Stamina, concentration and the need to persistently negotiate a busy track with almost 70 entrants of the Coca-Cola backed gathering were some of the key ingredients to remain at the top of the time sheets as the sun arched and eventually dropped.

“The feeling of winning here is fantastic because of the atmosphere,” said Lowes, who sampled Suzuka glory for the second year in a row and brought the R1 home in the darkness. “The race went really well and the whole team did an amazing job. In the end we got a bit of a gap and we were able to enjoy it.”


Kawasaki Team Green was runner-up with BSB ace Leon Haslam as part of the rider roster after a captivating chase for the second step of the box. The Ninja ZX-10RR carried the team ahead of FCC TSR Honda and Haslam’s collective were the only ones on the same lap as the Yamaha-mounted champions.


“I’m really happy with the result and it is definitely one of the hardest 8hrs I’ve done with five stints, and having to back-to-back the last two hours definitely took its toll but we got the best result possible today, only the Yamahas had a bit in reserve and they have a really strong team there,” Haslam said. “A big thanks to Kawasaki, Team Green and everybody involved. It was a hard day but also rewarding when you get on that podium. Hopefully we can go one better next year.”