Team HRC set the fastest lap time in Friday’s timed qualifying sessions, proceeding easily into Saturday’s Top 10 Trial, which was changed to a conventional Top 10 qualifying session at the last minute. Tetsuta Nagashima set the fastest lap time of 2 min 4.934 s to secure pole position for the team.
Takumi Takahashi was Team HRC’s starting rider, and despite losing the lead at the start, regained the top spot on Lap 10. From that point onwards, Tetsuta Nagashima and Iker Lecuona rode solid stints to maintain a comfortable gap with the closest competitor. At 7:32pm, after 214 laps, Team HRC crossed the finish line to win from pole position.
This win marks Takumi Takahashi’s fourth Suzuka 8 Hours win, and a first for Tetsuta Nagashima and Iker Lecuona.
Team HRC set lap records in Qualifying and Top 10 Qualifying to take pole position. Takahashi, Nagashima and Lecuona all lapped at impressive pace throughout the race, lapping all other teams, demonstrating the return of a strong Honda.
“I’m simply happy! I’m glad to have had the opportunity to be involved in developing the CBR1000RR-RSP in 2021 and 2022, realize its potential, and show the world. Honda’s engineers have tested the bike over and over, and were rewarded by our Suzuka 8 Hours victory. I am grateful to be a part of the development, and grew with each test we did. I believe we demonstrated a strong Honda at the first Suzuka 8 Hours in three years.”
“I’ve always been unhappy with the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours, so I’m glad we won today. I’m relieved that I managed to play my part, as Nagashima developed the bike, and I had to become accustomed to it and bring out its potential, otherwise I would hold him back. This was the first Suzuka 8 Hours for Iker [Lecuona], and he did a great job. The HRC team gave us solid support including pit work. I am grateful to everyone involved. This is my fourth Suzuka 8 Hours victory, and if I get another chance, I will aim for the record of five victories held by Toru Ukawa.”
“I am really, really, really happy to win my first Suzuka 8 Hours. It felt amazing when Nagashima was met by the checkered flag. Everything has gone well since the Suzuka tests, the bike developed by Honda and Nagashima was superb, and I think I managed to bring out the performance of the bike. I was worried when the safety car entered the track that I would lose the gap our other two riders had built up, but we got through fine. I am grateful to the best team and my teammates. If I have the opportunity next year, I’d like to be back at Suzuka.”