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