Test Session 4
EWC 2022
Round 3

Lecuona Joins Team HRC for Productive Suzuka Final Joint Tests Day 2

jp Suzuka Circuit

#33 Team HRC’s Iker Lecuona arrived at Suzuka last night, in time to participate in Day 2 of the final joint tests preceding the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race (Suzuka 8 Hours).

Lecuona Joins Team HRC for Productive Suzuka Final Joint Tests Day 2

Day 2 proceedings began under similar conditions to the previous day; harsh sunshine and intense heat. In Session 3, FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) regulars YART - Yamaha Official Team EWC (Yamaha) set the fastest time of 2 min 6.684 s. #33 Team HRC (Tetsuta Nagashima / Takumi Takahashi / Iker Lecuona) were second-fastest with 2 min 7.049 s. #73 SDG Honda Racing (Teppei Nagoe / Naomichi Uramoto / Ikuhiro Enokido) was fourth with 2 min 8.585 s. #17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing (Kosuke Sakumoto / Kazuma Watanabe / Taiga Hada) was sixth with 2 min 8.619 s. #25 Honda Sofukai Suzuka Racing (Yudai Kamei / Yuki Sugiyama / Jun Tadokoro) was one place behind with 2 min 8.646 s. #5 F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Josh Hook / Gino Rea / Mike Di Meglio) was ninth with 2 min 8.910 s. These were the Honda teams that sewt lap times in the 2 min 8 s range.

As Session 4 started in the afternoon, slight cloud cover masked the harsh sunshine, but high humidity kept heat levels up. Team HRC’s Lecuona spent most of his Session 4 time on track. Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H (Kawasaki) set the fastest time for the session of 2 min 7.157 s. #73 SDG Honda Racing was fourth-quickest with 2 min 7.670 s. #5 F.C.C. TSR Honda France was fifth, its 2 min 7.761 s lap time a vast improvement from the earlier session. #33 Team HRC finished the session with a best lap time of 2 min 8.796 s, tenth-fastest.

Team HRC’s team manager, Kazuhiko Yamano said, “Takahashi was mainly on the bike in the morning session, followed by Nagashima to verify, and in the afternoon we did more verification of Lecuona and the bike. We had Lecuona do ten lap petit-stints on each of the two bikes. All three of our riders concentrated on getting the bike settings right rather than fast lap times. Setting up the bike based on Takahashi’s vast experience, verified with Nagashima, and further verified by Lecuona was only possible because the riders highly respect each other. I feel their positive attitude has rubbed off on the team, who are bonded more than ever before. Everything is going smoothly, maybe too smoothly, so we’ll head into Qualifying with a disciplined approach.

Other Honda teams also used the two test days to ride, test, and verify their bikes. The Suzuka 4 Hours Endurance Race is scheduled for tomorrow, August 4, so the Suzuka 8 Hours joint tests have ended, waiting for Qualifying on Friday, the Top 10 Trial on Saturday, and race day on Sunday.

Tetsuta Nagashima
Tetsuta Nagashima 33
Team HRC
I’ve never experienced the heat and track temperature on Day 1, but still managed to set fast lap times. Today, I took Takahashi’s advice while riding, getting to learn a different approach to what I have known. There was nothing negative when I rode today. I don’t have much Suzuka 8 Hours experience, so I’m counting on Takahashi’s experience, and want to learn. I hope we can improve further for Qualifying. We managed 2 min 6 s laps on Day 1 and 2 min 7.0 on Day 2, both on worn tires, so we’re doing quite well to date. We haven’t concentrated on fast lap times, so I hope we can aim for great times in Qualifying.

Takumi Takahashi
Takumi Takahashi 33
Team HRC
I concentrated on going over the bike on Day 1. I had a fall, so on Day 2 I asked the engineers to set up the suspension to test an idea I had, which they did for me. It made riding easier for me, but Nagashima and Lecuona’s impressions are more important, so I’ll leave it up to the team on how we proceed. Nagashima’s comments were positive, which is great. We didn’t worry about lap times today. In Friday’s Qualifying, I’m aiming to help make the bike easier to ride and less physically demanding for our riders.

Iker Lecuona
Iker Lecuona 33
Team HRC
I had a WorldSBK race last weekend, so I arrived at Suzuka late last night. I coudn’t make it in time for Day 1 tests, but riding from the afternoon session on Day 2, I got a feel for the famed Suzuka 8 Hours heat and track temperature. I was aiming to test the bike’s setup, but with the heat and difficulty of the track, it was quite an effort to learn the track. I’m leaving the bike’s setup to the other two, and I want to learn from them, so based on that, I’ll make my own adjustments and aim for faster lap times. I’ve managed 2 min 7 s laps during the previous tests, so that’s the level I’m aiming for.

Josh Hook
Josh Hook 1
F.C.C. TSR Honda France
The conditions were extremely difficult, with high temperatures and a slippery track, so I did everything, nearly turning the bike back to front, to explore a setup that worked in these conditions. Nothing seemed to work though. Once the track temperature came down this afternoon, the bike felt like a normal bike. Through these two days of testing, we know our pace. Now I think it is important that we ride with consistency for the race. As long as the track temperature doesn’t rise too much during the race, I think we have a solid bike and I’m looking forward to racing. Overall, it’s pretty good.

Gino Rea
Gino Rea 5
F.C.C. TSR Honda France
It was a tough two days of testing, but that’s exactly what we expected. It’s very hot here. Yesterday we ran many laps, although the temperature was about 45℃ (38℃ air temperature / over 60℃ track temperature at 10am). We did not ride long distances, but we did many laps. The reason for many short sessions on track was that I could not quite get the feel here, like with European bikes. So, from yesterday to today I tried many different iterations of the Japan-spec Bridgestone tires. By the end of the sessions, I managed to improve my race pace and feel for the bike, even on soft tires, so I think I made good progress. There are a few issues left, but my race pace is good, which is the most important thing in an eight-hour race. 

Mike Di Meglio
Mike Di Meglio 1
F.C.C. TSR Honda France
The two days of testing went well for me, but it was extremely hot. The conditions were equally hot for everyone though. We’re behind the Honda and Kawasaki factory teams, but we’re not doing bad at all. We have to keep our concentration up during the race to gain as many championship points as possible. I’ll be focusing on riding each session error-free and gaining bonus championship points.

Teppei Nagoe
Teppei Nagoe 73
SDG Honda Racing
It was hard to set up the bike because the tests were held in high air and track temperatures. Setting up a bike to race for eight hours is difficult, but through trial and error we can find the right solutions, little by little, so the two days of tests were very satisfying. Our average lap times between the three riders is consistent, so we’ll do everything we can during the eight hours. It will be a hot race, but I hope everyone will cheer us on.

Naomichi Uramoto
Naomichi Uramoto 73
SDG Honda Racing
I couldn’t take part on Day 2 of the previous tests, but Nagoe and Enokido continued to set up the bike, so I could start with these tests on a well-prepared bike. We tried many ideas to avoid problems when the track temperature rose, and in the end our pace was good, so I think the tests went well. First, we’ll try to get into the Top 10 Trial, get a good grid position, and work hard as a team to get good results. 

Ikuhiro Enokido
Ikuhiro Enokido 73
SDG Honda Racing
Each test session was hotter than before, but these two days were even hotter, making bike setup difficult, and above all, it was physically demanding. It was good that we were careful in keeping our concentration up, and managed to try out a lot of options. The first Suzuka 8 Hours in three years will be my first Suzuka 8 Hours ever. This is the first time I will be riding for such long hours, but I’ll do my best for the team, playing my part.

Md Zaqhwan Bin Zaidi
Md Zaqhwan Bin Zaidi 88
Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA
It was my first time on the new CBR1000RR-R at the last tests, so I think I did not fully understand the setup and tire characteristics. I think that through these two days of testing, I have found a positive setup. First we’ll try to get into the Top 10 Trial. We’ll be doing our best in Qualifying and the race, so I hope all our fans will cheer for us.

Gerry Salim
Gerry Salim 88
Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA
I didn’t feel quite right during the previous tests, but I have been able to relax on the bike for the past two days, riding 26-lap stints, and my lap times are consistent, so I think we’re in a really good position. Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA is in a really good position. I’ll do my best as a rider, so I hope everyone will support us.

Helmi Azman
Helmi Azman 88
Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA
This is the second round of tests, so with the experience I gained from the first tests, I think it is getting along really well. I’ll do my best to ride faster, closing the gap with my teammates. Honda fans, thank you always for your support. We’ll be doing our best this weekend, so I hope you’ll be cheering us on.

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