Motorcycle Racing News 2016 Suzuka 8 Hours Qualifying | Yamaha Claims 2nd Straight Pole

2016 Suzuka 8 Hours Qualifying | Yamaha Claims 2nd Straight Pole

2016 Suzuka 8 Hours Qualifying Results

2016 Suzuka 8 Hours Qualifying | Yamaha Claims 2nd Straight Pole
Yamaha YZF-R1

Last year, following a 12-year hiatus, Yamaha entered its revamped YZF-R1 into the Suzuka 8 Hours. The Yamaha Factory Racing Team dominated practice, qualifying, and eventually the race. And the team is at it once again for the 2016 Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race – the 39th edition of the iconic endurance race.

With MotoGP pilot Pol Espargaro, World SBK’s Alex Lowes, and Katsuyuki Nakasuga at the controls of the YZF-R1, the team earned the top time during Friday practice and claimed its second-straight pole at the 3.617-mile Suzuka International Racing Course in Mie Prefectur, Japan. Joining the factory Yamaha team on the front row are the Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE and Team Green Kawasaki teams.

Securing the pole with a 2:06.458 was Espargaro, who pilots a YZR-M1 for Monster Tech 3 Yamaha in MotoGP; this was over two-tenths faster than the record lap set last season by the Yamaha team (2:06.405). Nakasuga was also quick, posting a 2:06.435, as Lowes posted a best of 2:07.877.

As for MuSHASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda team, which 2006 MotoGP Champion and current Honda WorldSBK Team pilot Nicky Hayden, it finished fifth, just under a second off the top qualifying time.

The race gets underway at 11:30 a.m. local time, and will finish up in the evening around 7:30 p.m.

2017 Suzuki 8 Hours Qualifying Quotes

Yamaha Factory Racing Team at Suzuka 8 Hours Pole 2016Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Yamaha Factory Racing Team: “We haven’t changed any settings during the week, everything has been really good and the average speed has been high. We are very satisfied with the progress we’ve been making and tomorrow I think we are going to do a great job. I wanted to beat Pol’s lap time this afternoon but I was unable to!

“I realized when he was doing his lap that today the conditions were harder and it would probably be hard to do a better one, but he did his best and I am very happy for him. I was the last one to go out for a lap time and I felt a lot of pressure and was a little nervous. I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to but we secured pole position, which is very important for us for the start of the race. I’m not totally satisfied with my lap but overall I’m happy for all of us.”

Pol Espargaró, Yamaha Factory Racing Team: “I’m actually really happy with the pole position, especially because during the weekend the speed of all three of us has been really consistent with good pace. We haven’t changed the bike so much, only something really small with the electronics. Our riding styles are different but in the end we can use the same motorbike, which is really important for the race. I’m happy with the pole lap, I wanted to improve on last year’s time but I felt the track today was a bit more slippery and I didn’t have a great T1. It’s important for all three of us for tomorrow’s start to be at the front. My helmet was special for the shoot out, it has my brother’s number on it, it’s a kind of dedication for him as it’s his 27th birthday today.”

Alex Lowes, Yamaha Factory Racing Team: ”Of course I’m really happy for the team to be on pole position. It’s a strange position having done nothing myself yet to be on pole but anyway I’m really happy. What’s most important is the race tomorrow, we had a really good day yesterday in the practices; we were all quite fast and consistent so this will be important for tomorrow. I’m really happy to be here with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team. It’s such a fantastic team and we three guys have a really good relationship. It’s very important for a race like this where you have to work together and have fun. I’m looking forward to the race, let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

2016 Suzuka 8 Hours Qualifying Results:

1. Yamaha Factory Racing Team, Yamaha, 2’06.258

2. Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE, Suzuki, 2’06.405

3. Team GREEN, Kawasaki ,2’06.469

4. F.C.C. TSR Honda, Honda, 2’07.248

5. MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO., Honda, 2’07.394

6. Team KAGAYAMA, Suzuki, 2’07.651

7. YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Yamaha, 2’08.602

8. TOHO Racing, Honda, 2’08.716

9. Moto Map SUPPLY, Suzuki, 2’09.774

10. TEAMJP DOGFIGHTRACING AUSTRALIA, Yamaha, 2’14.223

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Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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