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Haslam, Van der Mark and Takahashi win the 36th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours

The Suzuka 8 Hours is probably the most grueling motorcycle endurance race in the FIM World Endurance championship due to the high temperatures and humidity that hangs over Japan at the end of July.

This 36th edition of the iconic Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8 Hours was won by the team that made the least number of errors, and this year the victory went to Takumi Takahashi, , Leon Haslam and rookie Michael van der Mark riding the MuSASHI RT HARC-PRO Honda.

It took two years for Musashi Harc-Pro Honda to break the stranglehold that the Honda F.C.C.TSR squad had in the Japanese race.

The three rider team stayed out of trouble to win the eight hour 214 lap race with a 1’52 margin over second place squad, the legendary Yoshimura Suzuki (Josh Brookes, Nobu Aoki and Taka Tsuda) and one lap down was Team Kagayama aka as the “Dream Team” consisting of Yukio Kagayama, Noriyuki Haga and 49 year old former 500cc World Champion,Kevin Schwantz (wearing a tribute Wayne Rainey edition Shoei helmet) completed the podium.

The victory was important for Haslam as he is still recovering from fractured leg sustained in April after crashing during the World Superbike round at Assen, while for 20-year old World Supersport rider, van der Mark, this was his first victory on his first attempt.

Haslam's World Superbike Pata Honda team mate Jonathan Rea was also present, but riding for the F.C.C. TSR squad and he was looking for his second consecutive win, but team mate Ryuichi Kiyonari suffered a highside at the Degner corner, almost three hours into the race, while he was leading.

Kiyonari limped back to his garage with his damaged Fireblade, but the mechanics despite their efforts were unable to repair the CBR1000RR and the squad was forced to retire.

Polesitter Yamaha YART (Nakasuga/Parkes/Waters) couldn’t do better than eighth, suffering technical issues, while the legendary Yoshimura Suzuki was penalized with 30 second “stop and go” after Tsuda went through the pit lane during their third pit at a higher speed than allowed, but halfway through the race Brookes crashed out, which further slowed down the team.

TT Honda Legends team with John McGuinness, Michael Rutter and Simon Andrews, finished 22nd, after suffering a clutch issue, that forced them to pit for fourteen minutes.

Michael Van Der Mark, said, I’m just so excited! What a fantastic day it’s been – I can’t really believe yet what’s happened! We won the 8-hours!! We had a really strong team and the bike was working so, SO good! And the teamwork during the pitstops was perfect. It was amazing to watch. I am so thankful to everybody that helped me and allowed me to be a part of this incredible experience.

Leon Haslam added, This means so much after the tough season I’ve had. The leg held up pretty well during my stints but I just want to say thanks to the whole Musashi HARC-Pro team. They did a great job and also Mickey and Takahashi-san rode really well. I feel sorry for Jonathan and Kiyo [Ryuichi Kiyonari] but it’s a long tough race and anything can happen. I’m just glad that we managed to hold on to the lead until the end. It’s a really magical feeling.

2013 Suzuka 8 Hours – final results:

  1. 1 MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda | Honda | Takahashi – Haslam – van der Mark | 214 Laps
  2. 2 Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team | Suzuki | Tsuda – Aoki – Brookes | +1’51.996
  3. 3 Team Kagayama | Suzuki | Kagayama – Schwantz – Haga | +1 Lap
  4. 4 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team | Suzuki | Philippe – Delhalle – Da Costa | +1 Lap
  5. 5 Yamaha France GMT94 Michelin | Yamaha | Checa – Foray – Lagrive | +2 Laps
  6. 6 Honda Team Asia | Honda | Kamaruzaman – Takahashi | +3 Laps
  7. 7 TOHO Racing with Moriwaki | Honda | Yamaguchi – Itoh – Watanabe | +4 Laps
  8. 8 Monster Energy Yamaha YART | Yamaha | Nakasuga – Parkes – Waters | +4 Laps
  9. 9 Honda Kunamoto Racing | Honda | Yoshida – Kojima – Tokudome | +6 Laps
  10. 10 Team RC2L | Suzuki | Buisson – Shinjo – Giabbani | +7 Laps
  11. 11 Bolliger Team Switzerland | Kawasaki | Saiger – Stamm – Sutter | +7 Laps
  12. 12 EVA RT Test Type-01 Trick Star | Kawasaki | Serizawa – Deguchi – Izutsu | +7 Laps
  13. 13 RS-Itoh & Asia | Kawasaki | Higashimura – Iwasaki – Murakami | +7 Laps
  14. 14 Honda Hamamatsu Escargot | Honda | Kuboyama – Nakatsuhara | +9 Laps
  15. 15 Confia H.M.F. LunaSol Japan | Suzuki | Suma – Hasegawa – Takamiya | +11 Laps
  16. 16 Team38 PS-K | Kawasaki | Karita – Keyes – Yamashita | +11 Laps
  17. 17 Team JP Dog Fight Yamaha | Yamaha | Fujita – Kimura – Tamura | +13 Laps
  18. 18 Honda Ryokuyoukai Kunamoto | Honda | Mitaori – Ohashi – Mori | +15 Laps
  19. 19 MotoMap Supply | Suzuki | Konno – Teramoto – Nakamoto | +15 Laps
  20. 20 Iwata Racing Family | Yamaha | Ueno – Sawamura – Nishimura | +15 Laps
  21. 21 Winner Z-Tech | Suzuki | Kunimatsu – Yoshida | +15 Laps
  22. 22 Honda TT Legends | Honda | McGuinness – Andrews – Rutter | +15 Laps
  23. 23 Hamamatsu Team Titan | Suzuki | Shimizu – Inijki – Ohshiro | +16 Laps
  24. 24 Dog Fish O-Tec Suzuka | Honda | Ohuchida – Akimoto – Watase | +16 Laps
  25. 25 RS Garage Harada Himeji | Kawasaki | Harada – Okamura – Tanaka | +16 Laps
  26. 26 Dog House & Higuchi | Suzuki | Higuchi – Iwatani | +16 Laps
  27. 27 Team Flembbo Leader Team | Kawasaki | Demarey – Nishijima – Prosenik | +17 Laps
  28. 28 B-Square Racing & Osaka SAM | Kawasaki | Tanaka – Ohita – Sato | +17 Laps
  29. 29 Honda Sayama Racing | Honda | Yamashita – Ishizuka – Ohyama | +19 Laps
  30. 30 Banner Racing H-K-C | Ducati | Kaneda – Dan – Asahina | +19 Laps
  31. 31 Motobox Kremer Racing | Suzuki | Scherrer – Paavilainen – Bauer | +19 Laps
  32. 32 SNDheater Human-Revo | Suzuki | Sagoh – Hisadumi | +19 Laps
  33. 33 La Bellezza Speed & Kumamon | Ducati | Itami – Hori – Toda | +19 Laps
  34. 34 Hamamatsu 8H Team | Yamaha | Tonari – Nakao – Izumi | +20 Laps
  35. 35 Yamashina Kawasaki | Kawasaki | Mizusawa – Yamasaki – Matsumoto | +22 Laps
  36. 36 Team Sugai Racing Japan | Ducati | Sugai – Kamatani | +22 Laps
  37. 37 Team Little Wing | BMW | Miyazaki – Yamauchi | +23 Laps
  38. 38 Honda Dream Takasaki | Honda | Shimizu – Sakurai – Kobayashi | +24 Laps
  39. 39 Hinoseiki Iwaki & T2 | Suzuki | Yamauchi – Wada – Takano | +25 Laps
  40. 40 Team Vital Spirit Shark | BMW | Saiki – Tsujimoto – Soma | +25 Laps
  41. 41 Team Karbar Cafe Racing | Kawasaki | Morimoto – Nakajima | +26 Laps
  42. 42 Motorrad Toyota Nagasaka | BMW | Noda – Nakamura – Sasaki | +26 Laps
  43. 43 Honda Kouyoukai Dream | Honda | Kurayama – Nakamura | +31 Laps
  44. 44 Honda Suzuka Racing Team | Honda | Yasuda – Hiura – Kitaguchi | +34 Laps
  45. 45 Team Etching Factory | Yamaha | Nakaoka – Hayashi – Fukami | +35 Laps
  46. 46 IMT satoracing | Yamaha | Sato – Inagaki – Yasutomi | +35 Laps
  47. 47 KTM Hamaguchi Bakuon Racing | KTM | Fujishima – Dairaku – Hamaguchi | +40 Laps
  48. 48 Honda Dream RT Sakurai Honda | Honda | Stauffer – Hook | +48 Laps
  49. 49 Motobum & Ishigaki Island | Honda | Kunikawa – Ohki – Matsukawa | +50 Laps
  50. 50 Honda EG Racing | Honda | Kuribayashi – Honda | +51 Laps

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