SUZUKA 8 HOURS
The Suzuka 8 Hours has lost a little of its reputation-defining importance in recent years, but the 2018 race was the fastest, best-supported and one of the most thrilling yet. This is how it unfolded...
The most important stories from one of the world’s most gruelling races
THE SUZUKA 8 HOURS is back in a big way with more manufacturer involvement than we’ve seen for years. In the distant past, the cream of the GP paddock were contracted to a one-off ride on the endurance superbikes to uphold factory honour. But four-stroke GP racing, diary clashes and the more focused approach needed for MotoGP got them out of it, and the race’s importance waned a litte.
But it’s been building again in recent years: with full factory efforts from major Japanese manufacturers, WSB champion Jonathan Rea leading an all-star entry (and smashing the lap record in practice), 2018 marked a high-point in the race’s recent history. Suzuka is back. As if the riders and bikes weren’t exciting enough, the tail end of a typhoon meant the 2018 race was tougher and less predictable than ever. The racing gods and weather demons factored into making this a classic. Changeable weather conditions made judgement and strategy just as important: the fastest bike and fastest rider didn’t guarantee glory this year. These are the moments that made it.
The Far East’s extreme weather helped to make this year’s race one to remember