Team Suzuki Press Office – July 28.
Following yesterday’s qualifying for the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance World Championship final round at Suzuka Circuit in Japan, we caught up with the main Suzuki GSX-R1000 teams and riders for their comments.
Full report of today’s final qualifying to follow…
#12 YOSHIMURA SUZUKI MOTUL RACING
Takuya Tsuda: “We have been setting the bike up in cooler conditions throughout the week, so the ground temperatures at over 50 degrees in the qualifying made a difference in the ride feel. However, we have a good direction of setup towards the race so that’s a positive thing. The fact that all three riders are able to maintain a similar lap time is also promising and a mental back up for the team.”
Sylvain Guintoli: “We were good as a team, all clocking under 8 seconds and I was able to do that on used tyres too. I’m glad we are in the top 10 trial and we are ready to tackle it although the weather seems to be unpromising.”
Bradley Ray: “We are improving step-by-step and I was also able to improve my best lap. With a few more adjustments I’m sure we can be even more competitive in the race. We hope for a dry race but personally I’m used to the rain so either way’s good for me.”
Yohei Kato – Team Manager: “Both Yamaha and Kawasaki are fast, but as a team, I don’t think we are as far apart as the best lap times may indicate. All three riders have a good average and the bike’s at its best. We feel sure we will be able to put up a good fight on Sunday.”
#2 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team
Vincent Philippe: “The lap times could be a little better but we are in much better shape than when we were at the joint testing sessions. We haven’t managed to find the best set up for ultimate confidence in the bike but we are slowly getting able to keep a constant rhythm with the necessary margin.”
Etienne Masson: “Last year’s bike was the previous model but I feel a massive step up in this new model. I didn’t ride to the limit in the qualifying but simulated the race on race tyres. It was a positive session.”
Gregg Black: “We are setting the bike up for the race well with promising results. The lap times are nothing drastic but all three riders have a good rhythm and a constant pace. I feel certain we will do well in the race, and hope for a top 10 finish.”
#71 Team KAGAYAMA U.S.A.
Yukio Kagayama: “Although it’s the race that really counts, it was a bit of a pity we didn’t make it into the top 10 trial, especially when I think of all the supporters and the sponsors. The ground temperature rose more than we expected and the match with the tyres didn’t go as well as we hoped. However, the race is a different story again so we shall do our best and show what we are capable of.”
Naomichi Uramoto: “I wasn’t able to find the pace and it was a frustrating session, letting the top 10 trial slip away. We have analysed where I’m not doing well on data so I’ll do my best to adjust and do better in the race.”
Joe Roberts: “I think I was able to make a huge step from yesterday. If the course was not so crowded I could have done even better, but sub 9 was an achievement and I was pleased. The bike’s much heavier and bigger making it hard to ride than the Moto2 bike I’m used to, but also exiting and fun to ride. I’m looking forward to the final race!”
Kevin Schwantz – Team Manager: “We hoped all the riders could do a little better lap times and we were definitely hoping to compete in the top 10 trial, but there are 64 bikes out there and luck plays a part too. We should be pleased that all the riders finished the sessions without any crashes. Of course, we are here to win this race. Weather and ground conditions can influence an endurance race greatly and you never know! I’m going to be at that party after the goal with a smile.”
#9 MotoMap SUPPLY
Yoshihiro Konno: “As a rider you want to score good lap times but in the SST class this is not the case and can be frustrating. On the other hand, as a team we are forming into a good package with a good average so I’m looking forward to see where we will be positioned by the end of the 8th hour.”
Nobuatsu Aoki: We have greatly improved the setup since the test sessions. I aimed to clock better laps at the qualifying but we had a minor trouble and were not able to make the best of the tires. It was a pity this happened but the SST class requires unique tactics and we hope to carry ours out at the race.”
Josh Waters: “The qualifying was, well, so-so. Both the best lap times and average are improving so we have a good feeling for the race. All I can do now is try hard to do my best, both for the team and Suzuki.”
#95 S-PULSE DREAM RACING·IAI
Hideyuki Ogata: The plan was for me to do the setup of the bike and the other riders to ride hard, but at the Qualifying session there was a small spill and the team went through a bit of a rough time. On the other hand, both Tommy and Kazuki clocked under 8 seconds and the team also managed the session well in the end. We hope to keep the good work up tomorrow and on Sunday.”
Tommy Bridewell: “I have a good feeling for both the bike and myself. I collided with Alex Lowes in the second session and fell but I wasn’t seriously injured and was also able to clock under 8 seconds on race tiers so I think we can say that everything is going well.”
Kazuki Watanabe: “The unexpected spill wasn’t part of the plan but the bike has found a setup with a good balance and is ready for the race. We were forced to use the main bike for today’s qualifying so we were not able to push it as far as 105% but we still kept a constant lap time which was promising. I’ll do my best tomorrow to show entertaining speed in the top 10 trial!”
#31 Hamamatsu Team Titan
Kenshiro Wada: “With only two riders, the setup was relatively easy. We were able to proceed on both the bike and team well despite the lack of time. With the advantage to be able to focus on riding rather than complicated setups, I think we will be able to complete the eight hours with two riders without too much problem.”
Takahiro Kanbayashi: “I think we found a good balance in the free session which took place in the morning. We rode with the image of the actual race in the qualifying sessions without trying for ultimate lap times. With only two riders, we aimed to set the bike up to be as easy, stress-free and constant as possible and I think we have achieved that.”
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