Race After 4 Hours
EWC 2022
Round 3

Team HRC Extends Lead at Halfway Mark

jp Suzuka Circuit

At 1:35pm, two hours into the race, Watanabe returns to the track on his #17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing bike, after repairs caused by a pileup on Lap 2 are complete.

Team HRC Extends Lead at Halfway Mark

On Lap 59, Nagashima hands the #33 Team HRC (Tetsuta Nagashima / Takumi Takahashi / Iker Lecuona) bike to teammate Lecuona. The #10 Kawasaki also pits, Lowes taking over from Rea. The track temperature has risen to a scorching 53℃.

At the 2 hour 18 min mark, two safety cars are deployed as a bike that crashed at the Degner curves catches flames. Lecuona and Lowes end up behind different safety cars, giving the Team HRC rider a half-lap advantage. Once the safety cars leave the track at the 2 hour 30 min mark, Lecuona’s lead over Lowes increases to 1 min 40.129 s.

At this stage, Hanika (Yamaha) is third, Black (Suzuki) fourth, Kunikawa (TOHO Racing) fifth, Ogata (Suxuki) sixth, and Hiura (Honda Dream RT SAKURAI HONDA) seventh. #88 Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA (Md Zaqhwan Bin Zaidi / Gerry Salim / Helmi Bin Azman) rider Zaidi takes the team up to 12th. Josh Hook (F.C.C. TSR Honda France), attempts to recover lost time from 16th after an irregular pit stop to change the rear brake assembly.

Two hours and 51 mins into the race, #73 SDG Honda Racing team manager Shigeki Honda said, “We replaced everything but the engine and frame. We’re going to finish this race,” as Enokido returned to the track.

Lecuona continues to increase his lead, lapping second-place Lowes. On Lap 86, Lecuona hands the bike to Takahashi. Lowes hands his Kawasaki to Rea. The two leading bikes increase pace to the 2 min 7 s range. The race order is Takahashi, Rea (Kawasaki), Canepa (Yamaha), Watanabe (Suzuki), Tsuda (Suzuki), Kunimine (TOHO Racing), Hamahara (Honda Dream RT SAKURAI HONDA), with Azman (#88 Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA) up to 11th.

On Lap 90, Rea sets the fastest lap of 2 min 7.177 s chasing Takahashi, but as he laps in the 2 min 7 s range, so does Takahashi, maintaining the gap. After the 100 lap mark, Takahashi is still comfortably in the lead. Rea skids off the track and falls at the chicane, but with minimal damage, stays out of the pits to continue on, maintaining second place. #40 Team ATJ with JAPAN POST (Yuki Takahashi / Tomoyoshi Koyama / Kazuki Itoh) rider Takahashi is up to ninth place, Azman is tenth, and Di Meglio recover some places to 11th.

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