EWC: The Suzuka 2022 8 Hours report continues.

The 8 Hours of Suzuka 2022 report continues.

By Paolo Gozzi / Corsedimoto.com

Live TV on Eurosport 2
Eurosport offers the 8 Hours of Suzuka live from start to finish, commented by Alessio Piana and Jacopo Zizza. The most spectacular moments will be available on Corsedimoto, free of charge.

Honda HRC in pole position
Honda HRC has not won since 2014, but plans to break the fast with a super team that has paced at a record pace in all private and official tests. The Kawasaki will start from second position, on the Le Mans-style grid, that is, with the bikes lined up in front of the pit wall and the respective riders ready to sprint around the track.

Departure at 04:30h
This is the 43rd edition of the legendary endurance race, the goal alone worth the season for the Japanese giants. At the start there are 45 crews, a reduced number compared to previous editions: we remind you that the 8 hours is the third test of the World Endurance Championship, which will end in September with the Bol d’Or, in France. Weather: Storms are expected during the day, so it will be very difficult to manage consumption strategies and tire changes. We have described the two possible options, plus seven or eight pit stops.

Weather: Let’s start with the sun
Clear skies in Suzuka a few minutes before the start of the 8 Hours of Suzuka, air temperature 30°C. Weather forecasts at the moment call for thunderstorms by the end of the afternoon. Takumi Takahashi will start on the Honda HRC, while Leon Haslam will be on the factory Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Yamaha Yart commissions Niccolò Canepa for the first stage. There is no word on the condition of Gino Rea, who crashed during free practice on Saturday morning at the “Triangle Chicane”. A quarter of an hour earlier, the sign “You’ll get Gino Rea soon” was displayed on the grid, shown by several drivers and the FIM president, Jorge Viegas.

Here we go !
The 43rd edition of the 8 hours of Suzuka has begun, and the rebound was not long in coming.

In the fourth minute of the race, entering the spoon, Kosuke Sukamoto (Astemo Honda) slipped, clipping Namichi Uramoto’s Honda SDG. Unharmed balls, badly damaged motorcycles after hitting the fence. The safety car entered the track, ahead of a compact group led by Honda HRC, followed by Honda TSR FCC, Kawasaki and Suzuki Yoshimura. On the other hand, Nicclò Canepa was unable to make a good start with the Yamaha Yart, which started very late and occupies seventeenth position. Neutralization reduced the consequences.

Honda at the controls
Takahashi pitted at Honda HRC’s first scheduled pit stop after 29 laps, with a cumulative lead of ten seconds, leaving the CBR-RR to Tetsuta Nagashima, who was incredible throughout the practice sessions. Kawasaki extended their stint by one lap, with Leon Haslam pitting on lap 30 to give way to Jonathan Rea. After the whirlwind of pit stops, Honda HRC confirms its lead with a lead of 13 seconds. Now it’s his turn to play the Cannibal…
Great comeback from Niccolò Canepa, who has already made up for the catastrophic start due to the delayed ignition of the Yart Yamaha. After a good series of passes, the Italian rider arrived at the first pit stop on lap 25 in third, leaving the R1 in the hands of Marvin Fritz, followed by Yoshimura Suzuki and Honda FCC TSR, with a drop about 30 seconds each. relationship at the top. Also note Randy Puniet’s crash at Degner costing a long stop for various repairs on the Kawasaki SRC.

Another crash, the Honda HRC takes off
Jonathan Rea lost the head-to-head with Testuta Nagashima, bringing Kawasaki back to the second pit stop about 20 seconds apart, with 7. The Honda HRC consumes more than the Kawasaki, but the pace of the CBR-RR is unsustainable for the greens. At the pit stop to hand over the ZX-10RR to Alex Lowes, Kawasaki gave up another six seconds as the Honda passed through the hands of an Iker Lecuona, who immediately broke loose. The turning point after 2h20 of racing: the Yamaha Motokids crashed into Degner’s barriers, catching fire. The entry of the double safety car broke up the pack, giving Honda HRC an additional 30 second lead. So with 5.5 hours to go, number 33 has about 70 seconds left. Yart Yamaha is third ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki.

Fall of Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea was unleashed in the fourth stage of the race: within a few laps he gained ten seconds on the HRC Honda, before losing his front axle at the entrance to the chicane during a double overtaking. At 8 hours, getting rid of the slower riders safely is one of the most difficult tasks. The six-time world champion immediately returned to the track, with no apparent damage to the bike. But around thirty seconds have been lost, so it’s all to do again for the Kawasaki, who are now also chasing the Yart Yamaha.

Meanwhile, the BMW Motorrad left the track: Ilya Mykhalchik stopped on the long straight leading to the “130R”. The Ukrainian rider lost a few minutes, then managed to restart the M1000RR, but fell back in the standings. A bad blow for the winners of the Spa 24 Hours who, prior to this event, still harbored some slim world championship hopes.

Honda HRC without opponents
With an hour to go, the Honda HRC has the 43rd edition of the 8 Hours of Suzuka well in hand. Beyond the episodes that played against Kawasaki, the CBR-RR demonstrates a clear superiority over the only rivals capable of creating headaches. The fall of Jonathan Rea halfway through it changed the balance for good. Kawasaki even risked second place, threatened by Yart Yamaha, until a small problem with the swingarm pivot during the seventh pit stop saw them lose about ten seconds. Teams are watching the sky, but the forecast gives no indication of precipitation, which will arrive long after arrival.

Final ranking:

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