Kawasaki declared Suzuka 8 Hours winner after protest
The factory Kawasaki team has been reinstated as winner of the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours, following a successful protest launched against its exclusion following a late crash.
Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea was in a commanding lead on the #10 Kawasaki having taken the lead from the #33 Red Bull Honda at the start of the final hour of racing.
In the last 20 minutes, the #2 SERT Suzuki expired going into Turn 3, depositing fluid on track, which Rea seemingly hit and crashed with just two minutes left.
The race was red-flagged and Kawasaki initially thought to be the winners, but was thrown out of the result for having failed to make it back to parc ferme within the required five-minute window.
This meant the #21 Yamaha of Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga were declared winners, with #33 Honda and the #1 FCC TSR Honda promoted to third.
Kawasaki subsequently launched an appeal against the result, arguing that the result should be taken from the last completed lap in the instance of a red flag being shown for a clean-up operation.
Initially, Race Direction declared the result based on those who had made it back to pitlane within the five-minute window.
However, that rule doesn’t exist in the EWC as it does in WSBK and MotoGP, and they soon determined that the result should have been declared based on the finishing order from the last completed lap and the five-minute rule disregarded.
This means the #10 team of Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu (who did not complete a stint during the race) were declared the winners, handing Kawasaki its first Suzuka success since 1993.
The #21 Yamaha crew were officially declared as runner-ups, with the #33 Honda team of Stefan Bradl, Takumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kiyonari (who was also not run in the race) third.
The only other significant change to the order now is the FCC TSR team losing its rostrum, and is classified fourth again instead.
Suzuka 8 Hours: Yamaha wins after last-minute Rea crash
Kawasaki pair describe “rollercoaster of emotions” at Suzuka
FCC TSR Honda rider Gino Rea has been airlifted to the United Kingdom a month after his Suzuka 8 Hours accident that left him with serious head injuries.
FCC TSR Honda rider Gino Rea remains under sedation after sustaining serious injuries to his head in a practice crash at the Suzuka 8 Hours, his family said in a statement.
Leon Haslam feels Kawasaki should have no reason to be disappointed with a second-place finish in the Suzuka 8 Hours after being outshone by a dominant Honda team.
Takumi Takahashi feels he banished the demons of his 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours loss by helping Honda to a first victory in the race in nearly a decade on Sunday.