8 Hours of Suzuka | Qualifying 1 Results – Suzuka Circuit, Japan | Superbikes of the world
Team HRC have established themselves as the first team to support in this weekend’s Suzuka 8 Hours after Tetsuta Nagashima climbed to the top of the timesheets in FP1 and Q1 by a huge margin.
Making its Suzuka 8 Hours debut this weekend alongside Takumi Takahashi and former MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona as part of Honda’s flagship HRC entry – one of 16 teams representing the marque on its original site – Nagashima denied his relative inexperience with the site looking very comfortable on it.
Stopping the clock for a best time of 2m 05.823s in the two-hour FP1 session, Nagashima went to take nearly a full second off that benchmark in Q1 with a lap of 2m 04.942s set in the first of three phases of 20 minute qualification.
With no other rider capable of closing in on his best time, Nagashima – who hasn’t raced on a top stage since announcing he would be leaving Moto2 at the end of the 2020 season – would finish Q1 almost a second ahead of its nearest rival. Niccolo Canepa on the YART Yamaha R1.
With only sessions one and two – for the yellow and blue runners respectively – allowing representative times after a shower just as the 20-minute final stage began to embarrass the “red” runners, six-time title winner Jonathan Rea WorldSBK secured third place on the provisional grid for Kawasaki, while the Astemo Honda Dream national team of Terusuke Sakumoto, Kazuma Watanabe and Taiga Haneda were close behind in fourth.
SDG Honda Racing rounded out the top five thanks to a fast lap from Teppei Nagoshi, relegating FCC TSR France – Honda’s nominated effort in the World Endurance Championship – to sixth.
Two other Honda teams completed the top ten with Honda Sofukai Suzuka and Honda Dream Racing Team Sakurai finishing Q1 seventh and ninth respectively.
They sandwiched the winners of the 24 Hours of Spa BMW – the only entry in the whole field to compete with European riders on a European motorcycle built by a European manufacturer – in eighth position while championship leaders Yoshimura Suzuki Endurance Racing Team completed the top ten following a late driver change. to trade Xavier Simeon, hampered by COVID, for Gregg Black.