Motorcycle Racing News Kawasaki To Suzuki 8 Hours with Rea, Haslam and Watanabe

Kawasaki To Suzuki 8 Hours with Rea, Haslam and Watanabe

2018 Suzuka 8 Hours Kawasaki Lineup

Since the Suzuka 8 Hours began in 1978, Kawasaki had only claimed victory once. The year was 1993 with five-time Daytona 200 Champion Scott Russell and Aaron Slight at the controls of a ZXR-7.

Last year the Kawasaki Team claimed second aboard the ZX-10RR Ninja. For 2018, Kawasaki is seeking the win, and has the perfect team to complete the task at the Suzuka circuit in Japan July 28-29.

The three-rider lineup for 2018 features the man who won the past three WorldSBK titles, Jonathan Rea, British Superbike Champion Leon Haslam and Asian racer Kazuma Watanabe. Haslam was on the team last year, but Rea and Watanabe have never raced the Suzuka 8H aboard Kawasaki machinery.

Kawasaki To Suzuki 8 Hours with Rea, Haslam and Watanabe
Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea

Rea is no stranger to the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance motorcycle race; he claimed a win there with Honda in 2012. He is looking forward to the challenge of Suzuka.

“Suzuka is the biggest test for man and machine. It’s like an emotional roller coaster during the race and I am very excited to go back this season,” Jonathan Rea says.

Haslam, a World Superbike race winner, has two Suzuka 8 titles under his leathers; the Brit won there in 2013 and 2014 aboard Honda CBR1000RR machinery.

“Suzuka is very challenging circuit and it really suits the characteristics of the bike itself. Being part of Team Green and riding the ZX-10RR is a dream come true,” Leon Haslam says.

Kazuma Watanabe is also optimistic: “For this year’s Suzuka 8hr we are fielding our strongest team yet. We will be pushing for the win so be sure to cheer for Team Green.”

Kawasaki says a win at Suzuka on “home soil” has a special significance for Japanese manufacturers and can also act as a springboard for other marketing activities according to the head of the motorcycle marketing department at Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Eiko Kirino.

“There is worldwide interest in the Suzuka 8hr and to achieve success is highly newsworthy across Asia in particular,” Kirino We wish Kawasaki Team Green well and hope that Jonathan, Leon and Kazuki reach the top step of the podium in July.”

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.

2019 Motegi MotoGP Results: Champ Marquez Claims Win #10

Two weeks after clinching the 2019 MotoGP Championship in Thailand, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez was once again unstoppable at 2019 Motegi MotoGP.

2020 Suzuki GSX250R and GSX250R ABS Buyer’s Guide: Specs & Price

The smallest sport motorcycle in the 2020 Suzuki lineup, the GSX250R offers big-bike features such as a full fairing, fuel injection, electric cooling, and optional ABS.

BMW K 1600 GT, GLT & B Motorcycle Recall: Transmission Issues

BMW K 1600 GTL & K 1600 B Recall BMW of North America is recalling 4,672 of its 2017-2020 K 1600 GT sport-touring motorcycles, and...

2019 Monster Energy Cup Supercross Results: Las Vegas

2019 Monster Energy Cup Supercross Results: Cianciarulo Wins In 450 Debut With three riders—Adam Cianciarulo, Malcolm Stewart, and Eli Tomac—tied for the lead going into the...

Kawasaki Ninja400R.com SuperBike Club Racer: Spec Bike Test

Race-Ready 300-pound Ninja 400 From Norton Motorsports Back in late 2017, I found myself twisting the throttle of the then all-new Kawasaki Ninja 400 around...

2019 Monster Energy Cup Guide: Supercross In Las Vegas

2019 Monster Energy Cup Guide: How To Watch, Plus Rider Quotes and News Supercross returns to Las Vegas for the 2019 Monster Energy Cup, giving fans...