Have Honda given up?
‘Fielding two factory teams of rookies certainly suggests so...’
The Suzuka 8-Hour is often touted as the most important race of the season to the Japanese manufacturers, as evidenced by the plethora of factory bikes, GP and WSB stars and factory technicians that flood to the race to help their respective companies take top honours.
There are none of these to whom it has traditionally meant more than Honda. The race was the brainchild of Soichiro Honda, and is held on the company’s home track.
Yet now we’re pondering how strong Honda’s commitment is after yet another disappointing showing in an important year, with both the 40th anniversary of the 8-Hour and a new Fireblade to sell.
Turning up with two factory teams of rookies and young riders like Jack Miller and Takaaki Nakagami against Yamaha’s triple-winning team, Yoshimura Suzuki’s hugely strong squad and double race winner Leon Haslam on the Kawasaki, it begs the question – is Suzuka finally losing its appeal to the big H?