Today the 39th “Coca-Cola Zero’ Suzuka 8 Hours took place in blistering temperatures at the Suzuka circuit in Japan and it turned out to be a mixed day for Honda’s teams at their home circuit.
Over the past few days of practice and qualifying it was looking hopeful for potential race winners F.C.C TSR Honda and MuSASHi HARC-PRO RT. Flying through all practice sessions and entering the top-ten Superpole time trial, both teams and their riders – Kazuma Watanabe, Dominique Aegerter, and Patrick Jacobsen (TSR Honda) and Takumi Takahashi, Michael van Der Mark and Nicky Hayden (HARC) were enjoying the Suzuka circuit.
Jacobsen and Aegerter stepped up for the time trial for TSR Honda and placed the team fourth fastest, while van Der Mark and Takahashi took to the stage for HARC and finished fifth fastest.
Today at 11.30am local time, the Suzuka 8 Hours was flagged off and quickly saw TSR and HARC well in the mix, however disaster struck for TSR while running in second place after just 15 minutes when Aegerter crashed. Unhurt, he got the Fireblade back to the garage and a speedy repair took place. Back out on track the TSR riders pushed hard and eventually crossed the line to finish the eight hours in 18th.
Meanwhile HARC were given a stop and go penalty for a jump start, but had made it into second place, when Honda’s WSBK rider Hayden made his way out for his first stint. Halfway through his session disaster also struck, when he stopped and was returned to the garage on a recovery vehicle. After some time in the garage the announcement was made that the team were retiring from the race.
Honda Endurance Racing had a drama-filled race and after starting from 24th their riders Freddy Foray, Julien Da Costa and Sebastien Gimbert fought through the pack and into eighth place. It was during the final hour of the race that the team suffered an oil leak due to a faulty oil hose, but a quick repair from the team got them back on track and into the race in 14th position. The team pushed hard and eventually crossed the line in 13th position.
The SatuHATI Honda Team Asia and its highly-talented Asian riders came home the highest placed Honda team finishing the eight hours in eighth position.