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- Albert Einstein

Beacon Supported Brookes on Suzuka 8-Hour Podium

Beacon supported Tyco Suzuki rider Josh Brookes had a memorable weekend in Japan finishing second in the Suzuka 8-Hour World Endurance Championship race alongside Takuya Tsuda and Nobu Aoki in the Yoshimura Suzuki team on Sunday.

The podium came despite a crash and a 30-second time penalty, with Team Kagayama putting their GSX-R1000 on the third rung of the podium in the hands of former World 500cc GP Champion Kevin Schwantz, Nori Haga and Yukio Kagayama. And making it three Suzuki GSX-R1000s in the top four of Japan’s most-prestigious motorcycle event – won by Musashi RT HARC PRO’s Takumi Takahashi, Leon Haslam and young 20-year-old Dutchman Michael van der Mark – was reigning World Endurance Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) with Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Julien Da Costa taking the championship lead after two rounds.

Yoshimura Suzuki finished on the same 214th lap as the winners and also set the second-fastest race lap-time of 2’09.144. Team Kagayama finished-up just one lap behind on 213, with SERT also on 213.

A huge crowd of 61,000 flocked into the circuit at Suzuka to see Japan’s finest riders mix-it with some of the top riders from World Endurance, World Superbike and domestic championships, plus Suzuki’s 1993 World 500cc GP Champion Schwantz, who proved, at the age of 49, he can still put-in fast and consistent lap-times.

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Tsuda, who started from second place on the grid, took the lead from the start from pole-setter Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Monster Energy YART) in the 36th Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8-Hours race; and set the early pace until Nakasuga took over; and then Musashi’s first rider on track, Takahashi, shortly afterwards. After the first hour, Yoshimura Suzuki held third position with Team Kagayama fourth and SERT seventh.

Three hours in, Team Kagayama moved into second position as Aoki was given a stop-go penalty for allegedly infringing pit-lane speed; and then Brookes suffered a get-off. But the Australian BSB star held onto the bike, kept it running whilst picking it up; and finished his full stint (one of four) – a move that earned him even more respect from the team and his new team-mates.

Yoshimura then fought its way back into second place ahead of Team Kagayama at the four-hour stage; a position the team held until the flag and as the rain started to fall and darkness closed-in, Yoshimura Suzuki stayed-out on track with its original tyres and chose not to ‘Pit’ to change to Wets – as several other teams chose to.

Josh Brookes:
“It’s a great feeling, but I’m a little disappointing for my mistake in the race, because I know the Suzuka 8 Hours is great race and very important in all aspects for the manufacturers, sponsors and fans. When I crashed, I didn’t let-go of the handlebars; I was dragged by the bike. It was like a trophy you don’t want to let go of! I tried so hard, it is a great honour to be here as part of the team; and I’d like to come back again. Thank you to everyone at Yoshimura for this. The bike was perfect and I know we could have won had it not been for a mistake.”

Takuya Tsuda:
“I went into the race as a first rider and I know this first hour is very important for the result. Luckily I grabbed the holeshot but I was passed by Takumi Takahashi after about 40 minutes. I feel very frustrated to not able to win, but I also feel happy to be in second place for our team and our staff. I understand my weak points from the race and I would like to be a faster rider and return to the Suzuka 8-Hour next year!”

Nobuatsu Aoki:
“I am very sorry that I was given a penalty for speeding in the pit-lane. It gave Takuya and Josh a lot of pressure. When I jumped onto the bike, I didn’t touch the speed limiter switch. It is stupid mistake! Especially for Josh, who managed to catch-up with the front runners again and was pushing hard, which is maybe why he crashed.”

Tyco Suzuki team manager Philip Neill was delighted for his BSB rider and said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to see the Yoshimura Suzuki team on the podium again. To have two Suzuki teams on the podium and three in the top four proves the pedigree of Suzuki’s GSX-R1000. From Tyco Suzuki’s perspective, Josh did a great job as a relative newcomer to Suzuka, compared to many of his peers. I think he earned a lot of respect from his performance. We always knew what he was capable of but it’s great for him to display his talent on the world stage.”

Armoy Road Races
Brookes’ Tyco Suzuki team-mate Guy Martin was also in action at the weekend at Armoy Road Races in Northern Ireland – as a build up to the up-coming Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix on August 17. Martin took podium positions in both the Open Superbike and Supersport classes and finished fourth in the Race of Legends after over-shooting whilst disputing the lead.

Suzuka 8-Hour Result : 1 Musashi RT HARC-PRO (Honda) Takahashi/ Haslam/ van der Mark – 214 laps, 2 Yoshimura Suzuki (Suzuki GSX-R1000) Takuya Tsuda/ Nobu Aoki/ Josh Brookes – 214 (-1’51.996 secs), 3 Team Kagayama (Suzuki GSX-R1000) Yukio Kagayama/ Kevin Schwantz/ Nori Haga – 213, 4 SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) Vincent Philippe/ Anthony Delhalle/ Julien Da Costa – 213, 5 Yamaha France GMT94 (Yamaha) Checa/ Foray/ Lagrive – 212, 6 Honda Team Asia (Honda) Tamada/ Shah/ Kamaruzman/ Takahashi – 211, 7 TOHO Racing with Moriwaki (Honda) Yamaguchi/ Ito/ Watanabe – 211, 8 Monster Energy YART (Yamaha) Nakasuga/ Parkes/ Waters – 210, 9 Honda Kumamoto Racing (Honda) Yoshida/ Kojima/ Tokudome – 208, 10 Team R2CL (Suzuki GSX-R1000) Gwen Giabbani/ Masahiro Shinjo/ Dylan Buisson – 207.

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