The Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race ran over the weekend, and Kawasaki prevailed, but not without some controversy.
As always, the Japanese factory teams were dominant, with Yamaha Factory Racing, Honda Red Bull Racing and Kawasaki Racing frontrunners when Suzuki Endurance Racing saw its Gixxer blow its motor, puking oil on the track.
With two minutes left in the race, Jonathan Rea ended up crashing his Kawi because of the Suzuki’s oil slick, causing a red flag. Kawasaki had a lead of roughly 18 seconds at this point, and thought they had the win in the bag.
But, as the team was unable to get Rea and his crashed bike back to the pits within five minutes after the end of the race, the track officials handed the victory to Yamaha Factory Racing. Kawasaki immediately protested, and after review, FIM officials gave the victory to Kawasaki Racing, as that team had been the leader at the start of the last lap before the red flag. The FIM bigwigs said that because the race had ended on a red flag, the usual five-minute rule did not apply.
Needless to say, hardcore racing fans will be debating all this for a while, especially Suzuki’s actions after the team’s engine blew.
Final finishing order for Suzuka puts Kawasaki first, then Yamaha Factory Racing, then Honda Red Bull. The FIM World Endurance series is also decided now, with Team SRC Kawasaki France winning the series with 193 points. Suzuki Endurance Racing had hoped to clinch a win at Suzuka, going in with 127 points, but it was not to be.