Suzuka 8 Hours to Honda

Henny Ray Abrams | July 31, 2011

The F.C.C. TSR Honda of team of Kousuke Akiyoshi, Shinichi Ito and Ryuichi Kiyonari won the Suzuka 8 Hours, Honda’s 24th win in the 34th running of the third round of the QTEL World Endurance Championship. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Yukio Kagayama, Josh Waters and Nobu Aoki finished second, with Musashi RT Harc Pro’s Takumi Takahashi, Makoto Tamada, and Tadayuki Okada riding the second Honda CBR1000RR to third.

The race wasn’t without its drama for the F.C.C. TSR Honda team. Kiyonari started the race, but had an early crash that sent him back to the pits for quick repairs. That dropped the team from first to third behind Yoshimura Suzuki and Musashi RT Harc Pro. The next incident came in the second hour when Ito, who came out of retirement to race, stayed upright after a collision that sent Team Bollinger’s Roman Stamm (Kaw) almost to the bottom of the order.

The F.C.C. TSR Honda gradually cut into Yoshimura Suzuki’s cushion, moving from third to take the lead halfway into the fifth hour. By the end of the eight hours, they’d completed 217 laps to beat the Yoshimura Suzuki team by 38.765 secs. The Musashi RT Harc Pro was third, 1:31.162 mins. behind the winners. All three teams finished on the same lap.Ito and Kiyonari both won the race for the fourth time, tying them with Wayne Gardner for second most. The all-time Suzuka winner is Tohru Ukawa with five wins.BMW Motorrad France 99, the first of the QTEL World Endurance regulars, finished five laps back in fourth. After three of five rounds, they lead the championship with 68 points to 62 for Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, today’s ninth place finisher at 208 laps.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.