Yamaha secured their fifth straight Suzuka Eight-Hours win today after a late crash from Kawasaki on fluid from a Suzuki that shouldn’t have been on the track brought an end to the iconic Japanese race.
WorldSBK king Jonathan Rea went down on fluid left by the exploded SERT GSX-R1000 - which was still being ridden by Ettienne Masson as liquids poured out of it (see below) - and immediately red flags were shown. After some confusion, Yamaha were deemed the winners and the crash was the end of an incident-packed last stint.
Not only did it begin to rain with 25 minutes left to run but Rea was very nearly taken out when the Dog House team crashed after one of their riders hit a piece of exhaust as Rea rode around the outside of him on the exit of turn one.
Rea stayed cool and continued to extend his lead over Red Bull Honda’s Takuma Takahashi, who he passed for the lead with 35 mins left, as the Japanese rider did back-to-back stints which was an error by the team as Takahashi was visibly tired.
Reigning champions Yamaha, with Alex Lowes at the helm, went past Takahashi with 16 minutes left to run to secure second place but ended as the winners.
Yamaha were the only factory team to use all three of their riders, with Kawasaki choosing to box Toprak Razgatlioglu even though Haslam has a broken bone in his wrist after a crash at Laguna’s Corkscrew.
Honda didn’t use multiple winner Ryuichi Kiyonari at all and Stefan Bradl was workmanlike, so Takahashi did most of the heavy lifting.
SERT looked certain to win the EWC championship by one point from SRC Kawasaki France with FCC TSR Honda in third place but the GSX-R1000 blew its motor with six minutes left, giving the title to SRC.
The French team eventually took the final podium spot with Yoshimura Suzuki bagging fourth place after leading for a majority of the first stint with YART in fifth place. Musashi Pro made up for a 90s pitlane penalty after a tyre sticker infringement to take sixth place.
Tommy Bridewell and Bradley Ray’s S-Pulse Suzuki team put in an impressive performance for seventh place with Moriwaki Honda in eighth, Honda Dream Sakurai in ninth and Honda Asia Dream in tenth.
Louth-based Honda Endurance finished in 12th place after a dash change with Danny Buchan’s Bolliger Kawasaki in 14th. Danny Webb and the Team Frontier Honda were 16th, one place ahead of Stefan Hill’s Zaif Yamaha. James Ellison was a late entry with the Omega Maco team and they finished in 18th place.
Josh Elliott finished in 20th on the R2CL bike while Dan Linfoot and Josh Waters survived an early crash on the Motomap Swat Suzuki to end in 25th place. Gino Rea’s Wojcik squad blew and engine and didn’t finish.