2011 FIM World Endurance Championship
As the 2011 FIM World Endurance Championship heads into Round 3 this weekend for Suzuka 8-Hours, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) has the points lead.
The reigning World Endurance champions took first at Round 1, the 24 Hours Bol D’Or France, and third at the 8 Hours of Albacete in Spain. With two of five rounds complete, SERT currently leads the championship with 54 points, two ahead of BMW Motorrad France.
The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, which is based in France, will field a three-rider team at Suzuka 8, consisting of Daisaku Sakai, Vincent Philippe and Anthony Delhalle.
Suzuki says the Suzuka 8 Hour race is an Endurance classic in Japan, attracting the top Japanese teams, and following a recent two-day test at the circuit, SERT is likely to face strong opposition from FCC TSR Honda with three regular Suzuka podium contenders: Kosuke Akiyoshi, Shinichi Itoh and Ryuichi Kiyonari along with 2010 Suzuka 8 Hour winners, Honda Musashi RT Harc Pro’s Takumi Takahashi, Makoto Tamada and Tadayuki Okada.
Besides SERT, Suzuki will also field a Yoshimura-prepped GSX-R1000, featuring former MotoGP, World Superbike and British Superbike rider Yukio Kagayama, Suzuki MotoGP test rider Nobuatsu Aoki and Australian Josh Waters.
A total of six permanent World Endurance Championship teams are entered for the Suzuka 8, including current second-placed BMW Motorrad France 99 and third-placed Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone.
The first Free Practice sessions gets underway on Thursday, and to save energy consumption in the country – that continues to recover from the recent Earthquake and ensuing Tsunami – the start of the race has been moved one hour earlier.
FIM World Endurance Championship Standings (after two of five rounds):
1. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, FRA (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 54
2. BMW Motorrad France 99, BEL (BMW S1000RR) 52
3. Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone, FRA (Yamaha YZF-R1) 35
4. Team SRC Kawasaki, FRA (Kawasaki ZX10R) 28
5. YMES Folch Endurance, ESP (Yamaha YZF-R1) 25
6. National Motos, FRA (Honda CBR1000RR) 22
7. Bolliger Team Switzerland, SUI (Kawasaki ZX10R) 18
8. Team R2CL, FRA (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 17
9. Monster Yamaha YART, AUT (Yamaha YZF-R1) 16
10. Honda TT Legends, GBR (Honda CBR1000RR) 15