Suzuka 8 Hours: Rea takes provisional pole with lap record
Three-time World Superbikes champion Jonathan Rea broke the Suzuka 8 Hours lap record to put Kawasaki on provisional pole for the 41st running of the Japanese endurance classic.
Rea lapped the Suzuka circuit in 2m05.168s during the afternoon session, going more than a second quicker than the next best individual time of Friday’s two-part qualifying.
Combined with Kazuma Watanabe and Leon Haslam’s fastest laps, the #11 Kawasaki secured provisional pole with an average time of 2m06.448s.
Yamaha Factory Racing, which has won the last three editions of the event, qualified second, with Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga ending 0.322s adrift of the Kawasaki trio in the #21 YZF-R1.
Honda secured a provisional front row slot on its factory return to Suzuka 8 Hours, the #33 entry of Takumi Takahashi, Takaaki Nakagami and Leon Camier’s replacement PJ Jacobsen setting an average time of 2m07.373s to end up third.
Takuya Tsuda, Sylvain Guintoli and Bradley Ray qualified another 0.215s adrift in fourth in the #12 Yoshimura Suzuki as factory entries from the leading quarter of Japanese manufacturers locked out the top four spots in qualifying.
Dominique Aegerter, Ryo Mizuno and Randy de Puniet were fifth for the #634 Harc-Pro Honda outfit and ahead of the #95 S-Pulse Dream Racing Suzuki of Kazuki Watanabe, Tommy Bridewell and Hideyuki Ogata.
The #090 MotoUP Honda crew of Isaac Vinales, Tetsuta Nagashima and Kosuke Nagashima qualified seventh, while the #7 Yart Yamaha squad of Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Takuya Fujita were eighth fastest based on average times.
The #19 Moriwaki Honda ridden by Ryuichi Kiyonari and Yuki Takahashi was ninth, while #79 Team Sup Dream trio of Kosuke Sakumoto, Ryosuke Iwato and Tatsuya Yamaguchi made it five Hondas inside tomorrow’s Top 10 trials shootout.
The F.C.C TSR Honda outfit, which is locked in a battle with Yart Yamaha for the FIM EWC title, could only qualify 12th with its #12 trio of Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Alan Techer.
Camier pulls out of Suzuka 8h with neck injury
Suzuka 8 Hours: Rea, Kawasaki take dominant pole