If you were a World Superbike regular during the summer break, what would you do? Fly to Japan to enter a race, obviously.
Honda’s Castrol Ten Kate WSB star Jonathon Rea did just that last weekend, entering and winning the highly-prestigious Suzuki 8-Hour endurance race with Kosuke Akiyoshi and reserve rider (plus former 500 cc GP star and Honda development ace) Tadayuki Okada.
“I’m so happy to get a win in such a huge race as the Suzuka 8-hours,” Rea said. “Kosuke was riding very, very fast, and Tady gave me a lot of really useful advice. I want to thank them both so much.”
It was a great race for Honda, taking six of the top 10 positions. For the factories, this event ranks right up with the Moto GP championships. It was Honda’s 25th win in the event, and the first time a British rider was on the top step.
Second also went to Honda with the all-Japanese Toho Racing team, with Yuki Takahashi (a Moto 2 winner) partnering with Tatsuya Yamaguchi and Yusuke Teshima. They were followed to third by the Yamaha GMT 94 team of Kenny Foray and Davide Checa, brother of WSB title winner Carlos. They were the top team of the regulars competing in the World Endurance series.
British Superbike competitors Tommy Hill and “Nitro” Noriyuki Haga partnered with Katsuyuki Nakasuga who qualified their Yamaha on pole, but Nakasuga crashed early and the damage eventually dropped them out of the race.
The Honda TT Legends, made up of pure road racing heroes Cameron Donald, John McGuinness, and Jason O’Halloran, finished 10th overall, third of the regulars and the last Honda in the top 10.