Suzuki 8-Hour pre­view

For­mer BSB star out­guns Mo­togp & WSB reg­u­lars

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

He may have left BSB un­der a bit of a cloud, but that didn’t stop Ryuichi Kiyonari show­ing a host of WSB and Mo­togp su­per­stars the way around Suzuka in the lat­est round of test­ing for the 8-Hour race.

Rid­ing for the Mori­waki Mo­tul Honda team the three-time MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike cham­pion was joined by for­mer Moto2 race-win­ner Yuki Taka­hashi and Honda BSB rider Dan Lin­foot with the three men de­liv­er­ing a sur­prise per­for­mance on the last day of ac­tion at the of­fi­cial Suzuka 8-Hour test to beat the fac­tory bikes to top hon­ours.

De­spite not be­ing one of the fully Hrc-sup­ported Honda squads at this year’s race, Kiyonari none­the­less brings a huge amount of ex­pe­ri­ence to the squad that he reg­u­larly com­petes with in Ja­panese Su­per­bikes. A front-run­ner for them in that se­ries this sea­son, he’s also the most suc­cess­ful rider in 8-Hour his­tory.

How­ever, while he be­lieves that they have the pace to be more than com­pet­i­tive in the race it­self, Lin­foot ad­mit­ted that the timesheets may re­flect sin­gle-lap per­for­mance rather than race pace.

Lin­foot said: “Our best lap was on a Pirelli qual­i­fier. My hon­est feel­ing is that our po­ten­tial is bet­ter over one lap than a race stint, be­cause I don’t think the Pirellis are as good as the Bridge­stones. But ev­ery­one is happy and the feel­ing is good – and the bike is amaz­ing!

“On the first day my kit bag didn’t make it off the plane, though, and on the sec­ond day I got 10 laps and 15 on the third. The other boys are a pri­or­ity, which I un­der­stand, but I need to be able to do laps to help out the best I can. Kiyo has been mega for me over there though, re­ally help­ing me to re­lax. He speaks much bet­ter English when he’s in his own coun­try, and he’s been help­ing me out with food and where to go and what to do!”

The squad’s ex­cep­tional lap time on the last of three days of ac­tion leaves them go­ing into the race on July 2830 with an ace up their sleeves, af­ter fin­ish­ing 0.2 ahead of the full-fac­tory MUSASHI Honda squad of Mo­togp rider Jack Miller, Moto2 rider Takaaki Nak­agami and for­mer dou­ble win­ner Takumi Takasashi.

The fac­tory Yamaha squad of World Su­per­bike duo Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark and Mo­togp test rider Kats Naka­suga were third, a mere 0.01 be­hind the sec­ond fac­tory Honda squad of FCC TSR, head­lined by WSB reg­u­lar Ste­fan Bradl.

De­spite jump­ing straight from the Pata Cres­cent Yama­has at the La­guna Seca round of WSB onto the fac­tory bike at Suzuka, de­fend­ing cham­pion Lowes says that the test went well.

“Over­all it was re­ally pos­i­tive, and our feel­ing with the bike is quite good. We fin­ished with a race stint sim­u­la­tion and we felt strong. Our lap times were re­ally con­sis­tent.”

Kawasaki Team Green and star rider Leon Haslam was fifth, just ahead of yet more BSB reg­u­lars in sixth as Josh Brookes and Syl­vain Guin­toli made it four man­u­fac­tur­ers in the top six with the Yoshimura Suzuki team.

The main race is on Sun­day, July 30, live in the UK on Eu­rosport.

‘My hon­est feel­ing is that our one-lap pace is bet­ter than our race pace’ DAN LIN­FOOT

Kiyonari set a blis­ter­ing pace on the Mori­waki Honda

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