2019 Suzuka 8 Hours Results—Race
The 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours will go down as one of the most controversial in history after a series of late-race events saw Yamaha initially declared the winners, a fatal swing in the world championship for Suzuki, and Kawasaki eventually taking the win under protest.
After seven long hours in the Japanese heat and humidity in which the leading three teams of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team (Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga), Kawasaki Racing Team (Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu—who did not complete a stint), and the Red Bull Honda team (Stefan Bradl, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Takumi Takahashi) were never more than seconds apart, incredible drama followed just 20 minutes from the finish.
The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), on course to take the 2019 Endurance World Championship, blew its motor at turn three, dumping oil on the racing surface and causing leader Rea to crash. The race was red-flagged and the Yamaha Factory Racing Team were declared the winners for a fifth straight year ahead of Red Bull Honda and 2018 EWC champions F.C.C TSR Honda France 9Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike Di Meglio) after Rea failed to get his machine back to parc ferme within the required five-minute window.
However, Kawasaki appealed to the race stewards, their argument being the race should have been taken back to the last lap completed and the five-minute rule disregarded. As it turns out, the EWC does not have a rule that states upon the race being declared Rea needed to get back to parc ferme to be declared the winner (such as in MotoGP and WorldSBK). The race result was subsequently taken back to the lap prior to Rea’s crash, meaning Kawasaki have taken their first win in the Suzuka 8 Hours since 1993 when Scott Russell and Aaron Slight took the victory. The Yamaha Factory Racing Team was demoted to second, marking their first defeat in the Suzuka 8 Hours in five years and Red Bull Honda dropped to third. F.C.C TSR Honda France finished fourth with the Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing team of Sylvain Guintoli, Yukio Kagayama, and Kazuki Watanabe finishing fifth.
With champions-elect SERT failing to finish, the confusion over the race winners did not affect the outcome of the world championship, with Team SRC Kawasaki France (Jérémy Guarnoni, David Checa and Erwan Nigon) being crowned the 2019 Endurance World Champions.
2019 Suzuka 8 Hours Results—Race (Top 20)
2019 Suzuka 8 Hours Results—Qualifying
The Suzuka 8 Hours event was subject to torrential rains on Saturday, forcing the cancelation of the Top 10 Trial and putting the Yamaha Racing Team on pole position on account of their qualifying time.
Suzuka-specialist team riders Michael van der Mark, Alex Lowes, and Katsuyuki Nakasuga will be gunning for five 8 Hours wins in a row in 2019, and will start ahead of second-placed Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu, and the Red Bull Honda trio of Stefan Bradl, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Takumi Takahashi in third.
Rounding out the top five is the Mushashi RT Harc-Pro Honda squad of Javier Fores, Dominique Aegerter and Ryo Mizuno, and the Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing team of Sylvain Guintoli, Yukio Kagayama, and Kazuki Watanabe.
The regular Endurance World Championship teams are headed by Yamaha Austria Racing Team riders Broc Parkes, Niccolo Canepa and Marvin Fritz in sixth, while current EWC champions F.C.C TSR Honda France riders Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike Di Meglio—who currently lie third in the championship—are the best of the three full-time teams in with a shout of claiming the title win in seventh.
Championship leaders Team SRC Kawasaki France will start from 14th, with Suzuki Endurance Racing Team—currently second in the standings—starting from 17th.
2019 Suzuka 8 Hours Results—Top 20 Qualifying
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