Race After 2 Hours
EWC 2022
Round 3

Team HRC Leads Two Hours into Suzuka 8 Hours

jp Suzuka Circuit

During the warmup session for the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race (Suzuka 8 Hours) was held from 8:30am to 9:25am.

Team HRC Leads Two Hours into Suzuka 8 Hours

Team HRC (Tetsuta Nagashima / Takumi Takahashi / Iker Lecuona) was the only team in the 2 min 7 s range with a 2 min 7.957 s lap on a track still damp in places from rain the previous day.

Sun shone hard by the time the race started. Gino Rea’s name was missing from ♯5 F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Josh Hook / Gino Rea / Mike Di Meglio) at this stage, leaving Hook and Di Meglio to ride for the team.

As the temperature reached 27℃, 44℃ on track and 82% humidity, 45 racing bikes lined up along the pit wall, and the race started at 11:30am. Hook (#5) took the holeshot, followed by Takahashi (#33) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki). ♯73 SDG Honda Racing (Teppei Nagoe / Naomichi Uramoto / Ikuhiro Enokido) was close behind the top three. By the end of Lap 1, the order was Hook, Haslam, Takahashi, Uramoto, and Sakumoto for ♯17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing (Kosuke Sakumoto / Kazuma Watanabe / Taiga Hada). Takahashi gained a place up to second on Turn 1. Uramoto and Sakumoto caught Hook, Takahashi and Haslam to form the lead group, but Sakumoto slid into Uramoto at the Spoon Curve taking both riders out. As Takahashi retook the lead at the 130R, the safety car entered the track.

Once the safety car withdrew at 11:52am on Lap 8, Gregg Black (Suzuki) took the lead, followed by Haslam, Takahashi and Hook. Hook gets ahead, and although Black chases, Takahashi passes Black to retake second. Entering Lap 10, Takahashi retook the lead by the end of the straight. ♯104 TOHO Racing (Ryuichi Kiyonari / Takuma Kunimine / Hiromichi Kunikawa) rider Kunimine moves up to fifth at the chicane. Into Lap 13, Takahashi pulls away, increasing his lead over Haslam to 2.384 s.

After 26 laps, teams pit to change riders. For #5 F.C.C. TSR Honda France, Di Meglio took over from Hook.

Takahashi maintains his lead on Lap 27, with a 9.358 s gap to Haslam. Takahashi pits on Lap 29, handing the bike to Nagashima, for a fast pit time of 41 s. On Lap 31, Nagashima is back in the lead on track with a 13.694 lead over Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki).

Nagashima laps in the 2 min 7 s range, increasing his lead with Rea to 16.089 s by Lap 40. Kiyonari catches Cocoro Atsumi (Suzuki), and moves up to sixth.

On Lap 50, Nagashima’s lead over Rea was up to 20.722 s. Two hours into the race, the pit lane becomes crowded with bikes entering for their second rider change.

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