SOLID START FOR YAMAHA FACTORY RACING TEAM ON OPENING DAY IN SUZUKA
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team made a solid start on the opening day in Suzuka, as they bid for an unprecedented fifth consecutive victory in the 42nd edition of the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour event this weekend.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Alex Lowes have tested at the Suzuka circuit previously this year and, as a result, both were quickly up to speed today, despite both ambient and track temperatures significantly exceeding those experienced during the three-day test back in June. The third member of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, Michael van der Mark, missed the pre-race Suzuka test due to an injury sustained during the Misano WorldSBK round in June. However, the 26-year-old showed his experience today, posting consistently quick times after only a few familiarisation laps aboard the endurance specification Yamaha YZF-R1 he last raced twelve months ago.
The main goal for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team in the first of two test sessions today was to confirm bike set-up in the much hotter conditions experienced today, with positive results. Nakasuga, Lowes and van der Mark ended the opening session in second place on the timesheet and satisfied with the progress made.
For today’s second test session the focus shifted to the all-important pit stops, of which there will be a minimum of seven during Sunday’s 8 Hour race. All three riders practiced both handing over to and taking over from a teammate at the pit stop, which also gave the technical crew a number of opportunities to perfect their already rapid pit stop procedure.
Overall, it proved a positive opening day for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, who will be back in action and looking for further improvement in the two final test sessions tomorrow.
Michael van der Mark – Yamaha Factory Racing Team: “It feels good to be back here in Suzuka, having missed the test last month due to injury. Today was my first opportunity to get a feeling for both the bike and the tyres again, after a year away, so that’s what I was focused on in the two test sessions. It’s great to be back riding alongside Alex and Nakasuga-san once again and the team is working great, like always. It was a good first day and now I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”