Smith, Espargaro seal Suzuka 8 Hours win for Yamaha

The factory Yamaha team secured its first Suzuka 8 Hours win in 19 years with its riders Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaro and Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

Smith, Espargaro seal Suzuka 8 Hours win for Yamaha
Polesitters Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith
Casey Stoner crashes violently
#21 Yamaha: Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith
#778 Honda: Josh Hook, Dominique Aegerter, Kyle Smith
#17 Suzuki: Yukio Kagayama, Noriyuki Haga, Ryuichi Kiyonari
#12 Suzuki: Takuya Tsuda, Alex Lowes, Josh Waters

The trio were the dominant force for much of the distance aboard the #21 YZF-R1, taking Yamaha's first victory in the event since 1996 to coincide with the company's 60th anniversary.

Aided by the early demise of defending champions HARC-Pro Honda when two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner suffered a spectacular crash, Yamaha moved into the lead shortly after the ensuing Safety Car period as Smith passed the #778 Honda of Josh Hook.

Yamaha's progress was later delayed by a 30-second penalty for ignoring yellow flags, handing the impetus back to the FCC TSR squad of Hook, Kyle Smith and Dominique Aegerter.

But the Honda couldn't run the same pace of the Yamaha, and although the two bikes would exchange the lead several more times as differing pit strategies panned out, the speed advantage of the Yamaha was simply too much to overcome.

A late Safety Car period failed to derail the Yamaha challenge, with Smith taking over the #21 machine from Nakasuga in the final half hour to secure the win ahead of Aegerter's #778 Honda by a margin of 1m17s.

Third place went to the all-Japanese trio of Yukio Kagayama, Noriyuki Haga and Ryuichi Kiyonari, a lap down on the #17 Team Kagayama Suzuki, ahead of the #30 Suzuki of Le Mans 24 Hours victors Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson.

The #12 Yoshimura Suzuki of Alex Lowes, Josh Waters and Takuya Tsuda finished fifth, but had been a factor at the front in the early stages before a crash for Tsuda necessitated a lengthy stop for repairs and dropped the team out of lead contention.

Race results top 10:

Pos. No. Riders Bike Time/Gap
21 Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Pol Espargaro
Bradley Smith
Yamaha 8:00'29.708
778 Josh Hook
Dominique Aegerter
Kyle Smith
Honda 1'17.411
17 Yukio Kagayama
Noriyuki Haga
Ryuichi Kiyonari
Suzuki 1 Lap
30 Vincent Philippe
Anthony Delhalle
Etienne Masson
Suzuki 2 Laps
12 Takuya Tsuda
Alex Lowes
Josh Waters
Suzuki 3 Laps
94 David Checa
Kenny Foray
Mathieu Gines
Yamaha 3 Laps
111 Julien Da Costa
Sebastien Gimbert
Freddy Foray
Honda 3 Laps
25 Daijiro Hiura
Takashi Yasuda
Yuudai Kamei
Honda 4 Laps
87 Akira Yanagawa
Kazuki Watanabe
Haji Ahmad Yudhistira
Kawasaki 5 Laps
10  32 Yoshihiro Konno
Nobuatsu Aoki
Hideyuki Ogata
Suzuki 5 Laps
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