42 teams are participating in joint tests on July 5 and 6 at Suzuka Circuit in the lead-up to the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship Series 43rd “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race.
Two days of Suzuka 8 Hours tests were held in June, in which Tetsuta Nagashima and BSB riders Takumi Takahashi and Ryo Mizuno participated and were candidates for Team HRC, Honda’s factory team. The July tests are the second set of tests for Suzuka 8 Hours. Once Honda’s teams for Suzuka 8 Hours were announced, WorldSBK Iker Lecuona, who was unable to participate in June, joined the July tests. The final selection for Team HRC is Tetsuta Nagashima, Takumi Takahashi and Iker Lecuona. Many teams participated with three riders, in anticipation of the upcoming race.
Equalling the buzz for the Team HRC riders was the CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP developed for Suzuka 8 Hours, attracting a wall of onlookers from many pits to see the bike while the crew practiced their pit work.
On July 5, teams were divided into groups A and B for two 45-minute sessions and one 75 minute session. This was followed by a 70-minute night session in which both groups were on the track. The morning sessions were rainy due to Typhoon No.4, but weather improved in the afternoon, as the sun began to shine, drying up the track.
The first test was held on a wet track. Group A’s fastest lap was 2 min 21.819 s, by TOHO Racing (Ryuichi Kiyonari / Takuma Kunimine / Hiromichi Kunikawa). Team HRC was third fastest. In Group B, Honda Dream RT Sakurai Honda (Sodo Hamahara / Daijiro Hiura / Yuki Kunii) was the session’s fastest team with 2 min 12.174 s, while Team ATJ (Satoru Iwata / Yuki Takahashi / Tomoyoshi Koyama) was third and F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Josh Hook / Gino Rea / Mike De Meglio) was fourth.
Conditions dried by the time Group A began their second session. Nagashima was fastest with 2 min 6.349 s. Lecuona was second with 2 min 7.653 s, Team HRC taking the top two times. In Group B, Honda Dream RT Sakurai Honda was second fastest with 2 min 8.373 s, 0.142 s slower than the session’s fastest time.
In Group A’s third session, Nagashima was fastest with 2 min 7.180 s, and Team HRC was second fastest. Honda Sofukai Suzuka Racing (Yudai Kamei / Yuki Sugiyama / Jun Tadokoro) made their presence known finishing 4th in the session with 2 min 7.628 s.
In Group B’s third session, Team ATJ was fastest with 2 min 8.198 s. Honda Dream RT Sakurai Honda was second, F.C.C. TSR Honda France was fourth, and SDG Honda Racing (Teppei Nagoe / Naomichi Uramoto / Ikuhiro Enokido) was fifth. Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA (Md Zaqhwan Bin Zaidi / Gerry Salim) were 14th.
The night session, simulating Suzuka 8 Hours’ night conditions, began at 6：40 pm. Pit signboards were lit as teams enthusiastically tested their bikes on track. For Honda, Honda Dream RT Sakurai Honda was the best performer finishing fourth with a 2 min 9.203 s lap. Honda Sofukai Suzuka Racing was sixth, Murayama.Honda Dream.RT (Kousuke Akiyoshi / Osamu Deguchi / Yoshihiro Konno) was seventh, and F.C.C.TSR Honda France was eighth. Team HRC was ninth for the session. Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing (Kosuke Sakumoto / Kazuma Watanabe / Taiga Hada) was 11th, SDG Honda Racing was 12th, and Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA finished the final session of the day 18th fastest.