Yoshimura Suzuki riders Takuya Tsuda and Nori Haga completed three days of shakedown testing at Suzuka International Circuit in Japan today and are positive in the lead-up to round three of the FIM Endurance World Championship at the end of the month for the historic and highly-acclaimed Suzuka 8-Hours.
The #12 Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance GSX-R1000 topped the timesheets overall with Tsuda setting the fastest combined time, in perfect weather conditions. Team-mate Haga was also in the mix, but spent his time learning the Yoshimura Suzuki machine set-up; which is slightly different in characteristics to the Yoshimura-powered Team KAGAYAMA SUZUKI Asia GSX-Rs he is used to.
The third Yoshimura Suzuki rider, Australian Josh Brookes, was absent from the test, but will re-join the team in the lead-up to Japan’s biggest motorcycle event, the 39th Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8-Hours on July 28-31st. Also absent from the test was the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, last year’s winners of the Suzuka 8-Hours, who, along with Brookes are expected at the final Suzuka test next week.
“This is my first opportunity to race with Yoshimura Suzuki and I have started by learning both the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 machine and also working with the team. In each session I was able to learn something and was able to make progress; and then I was relaxed and was able to push.
“This was the first three days and we have another two days of testing next week, and I am sure we will improve again. It is nice to race with Takuya as he is a nice guy; and I am looking forward to Josh (Brookes) joining us next week.
“When I was young, I was wearing a ‘Haga’ replica helmet, as I was a big fan, and I never expected that I would race with him as a team-mate. So I am so happy and really motivated!
“The test was really good and our set-up went well, but I am still not satisfied with my result today and I will push more. Of course one fast lap is important to get the top grid-position, but we have to race for eight hours and I have to keep a good pace during my stint.
“Nori is very experienced and there are so many things to learn from him, and I am really happy for the opportunity. Josh is also nice guy and I am sure he has no problem with our bike, so I am looking forward to the next test.”
Yohei Kato – Team Manager:
“After three days of the testing, I can say it went well, but we still have more things to do before the race week. We knew we had to spend time with Nori to know our bike this time. It went well and he made progress from his previous experiences here. He is a great rider and we got a lot of feedback, and now we have to prepare for him to go 100%!
“I can say Takuya improved a lot and he is stronger mentally, and I am confident he will do a good job. Also, I am expecting Josh will do a good job for us, and it is going to be a strong team this year.
“When we are back here at Suzuka for the test next week, we have to do a long-run test and hopefully it is going to be a similar climate to the race weekend.”