Hayabusa wins class at Suzuka 8hr

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News from the Circuit

Sunday Evening

Final Race Report at 17.42 local time:

The 1999 Suzuka 8 hour race has been won by Alexandre Barros and
Tadayuki Okada on the No 4 Lucky Strike Honda RC45. Second place went
to the Castrol Honda RC45 of Aaron Slight and Colin Edwards II and third to
the No 2 ZX7RR of Akira Yanagawa and Hitoyasu Izutsu. Fourth place was
taken by the R7 ridden by Haga and fifth by the No 3 ZX7RR.

Congratulations from Race24 to the winners and all competitors.

It seems that there was a serious incident during the closing stages of the
race which caused a number of teams to lose places; M&P Phase One had
consistently been around 20th place but fell back to 35th. We will provide an
update on this when we have spoken with the team but the scale of this fall
shows how close this race has been.

Honda has dominated this race with five of the top ten being the much
maligned RC45. The RC45 of Zongshen ridden by Bonhuil finished 24th. The
Hayabusa was the first placed XF bike (16th overall), followed by the 111
ZX9R (18th overall) and No 91 R1 (21st overall). The two ZRX1100s in the
naked category finished 42nd and 52nd.

News at 19.05 local time:

M&P Phase One's 17th place is being threatened by the XF class VTR1000
No 16 of Moto Bum...

News at 19.00 local time:

The race order has now sorted itself out as the teams go for the finish line and
there have been no major changes in the positions other than a few place
swaps. The leading bike of Barros and Okada remains a lap ahead of the
second placed Slight and Edwards, giving Honda the likelihood of a first and
second. With a Kawasaki in third (Yanagawa) and a Yamaha in fourth (Haga),
it must be something of an embarrassment for Suzuki that its two highest
placed entries in front of the home crowd are the XF class Hayabusa in 16th
place and the privateer M&P Phase One team in 17th. M&P Phase One are
16th in the Superbike class, just behind the American factory Yamaha R7 of
Hacking and Fujiwara.

Bohuil and Zongshen remain in 26th place and meanwhile the naked class
Watanabe-R Seabird KM 2 K&T ZRX1100 No 31 of Yamaguchi and Takada
has moved up to 42nd place.

News at 18.00 local time:

With the end of the race in sight, No 4 Okada and Barros continue to stretch
their lead, now two laps ahead of Slight and Edwards. The No 100 bike of
Kocinski and Takeda continues to make up ground and is now in 7th place
within five laps of the leaders. The No 33 Honda of Itoh and Ukawa also
seems to have had problems and has plummeted down the table to 40th
position.

M&P Phase One have moved up to 16th place however the Hayabusa, now
the leading XF, is hard on their heels although M&P Phase One have a lap in
hand between themselves and the next superbike. Bruno Bonhuil and the
Zongshen team lie in 27th place, which will not help Bonhuil's title chances
but will be good for the morale of the team which failed to qualify at Le Mans
and were forced to retire at Spa. The two naked bikes, both ZRX1100s, are
now circulating a lap apart at 45th and 46th.

News at 17.00 local time:

As the afternoon wears on the race order continues to stabilise as Okada and
Barros on the No 4 Lucky Strike Honda try to consolidate their lead. They
have completed 144 laps and have stretched a lap out in front of the second
place bike, the Honda of Slight and Edwards. The No 71 bike of Katoh and
Tamada seems to have had a problem and has fallen back to 10th place. Also
in trouble is the No 19 VTR of Moriwaki Motul which has dropped from 10th
place to 45th. M&P Phase One has moved ahead to 18th place, 17th place in
class and remains the leading GSX-R. The No 33 Honda is running fast to
catch up and has now made it into the top ten.

The Suzuka race is traditionally dominated by the local talent, but the 1999
race features a strong showing by New Zealand riders with Slight running in
second and M&P Phase One's Tony Rees sharing a strong ride by the
privateer team with the Swedish fighter pilot Peter Linden. Good news for
Race24's many Kiwi visitors!

The XF class has largely dropped down below 20th place with the exception of
the Moto Bum VTR1000 in 16th overall and the Hayabusa which has made up
some ground and stands at 20th, 2nd in class. A swarm of R1's are down in
the 30's, the leader of this type at 26th overall, 5th in class.

News at 16.01 local time:

The race now seems to be settling into a rythym as the leading pack starts to
string out. Barros and Okada remain in first place on their 119th lap, the
second place RC45 of Katoh and Tamada also on the same lap. There have
been some small changes in the top ten since our last update with Slight and
Edwards moving up to third.

M&P Phase One remain in 20th place, on their 111th lap together with ten or
so bikes that form a small gaggle behind the top 15. This includes the
Hayabusa now in 22nd place (5th in class). The Moriwaki Honda VTR1000
continues to lead the XF class, in 10th overall. In contrast to Le Mans and
Spa earlier this year where the R1 dominated the stocksport class, the type
can only claim a 29th overall (6th in class). The ZRX1100 nakeds are in now in
46th and 49th. Bike No 22, the VTR1000 of PIAA MALTA Team HARC-PRO
stopped after 11 laps.

News at 15.00 local time.

In the course of the last few laps there has been some shuffling of positions
amongst the top ten. The leaders, Okada and Barros on the Lucky Strike
Honda have now completed 93 laps. Kocinski and Takeda move up to 9th.
M&P Phase One continue to make inroads and have moved forward by
another place to 20th and are the leading Suzuki - ahead of the Team Suzuki
machine and the GAR field Suzuki.

The leading XF machine is now No 19, the VTR1000 of Moriwaki Motul Racing
ridden by Izumi and Hamaguchi in 10th. The Hayabusa that led the XF class
before dropping to 35th place has made up some ground and moved up to
28th overall, passing four superbikes in the process. The two ZRX1100s, two
of the three in the 'naked' category are running in 48th and 53rd, the third
naked (a Z1) seems to have vanished. With four and a half hours to go this
race is still wide open.

News at 14.10 local time

The race is developing into a first class close quarters scrap - all of the first 37
bikes within 6 laps of one another. The three leading teams have completed
67 laps of the circuit with the teams in 4th to 6th places a lap behind.
Kocinski and Takeda's Honda continues to close in on the leaders and is
currently two laps down at 64. M&P Phase One have completed 63 laps. In
last place, PIAA MALTA Team HARC-PRO are trailing badly with only 11 laps
completed.

News at 14.00 local time

The battle for first place continues to rage as the No 71 RC45 of Katoh and
Tamada takes the lead from Barros and Okada. Barros and Okada, GP riders
on an RC45 are now in second, ahead of factory RC45 regulars Edwards and
Slight. Kocinski and Takeda have made great progress during the last hour
and are up to 12th. M&P Phase One continue to make good progress and
have moved up to 21st, 16th placed Superbike. The Hyabusa has faded to
35th overall, 11th in class.


Sunday Lunchtime

News at 13.15 local time:

The leading pair have swapped places, the race leader now being No 4,
Okada and Barros. Slight and Edwards have passed Crafar and Haga to take
4th. Itoh and Ukada continue to move through the pack, now running in 42nd
place. No 100, Kocinski and Takeda also have made ground back up, moving
to 22nd place. M&P Phase One have lost a place but remain in a respectable
26th. The No 12 Hyabusa continues as the leading XF bike, but some of the
Superbikes have managed to slip past and pushed the 1300 down to 12th
place.

News at 12.48 local time.

After 78 minutes of racing, the No 33 bike of Itoh and Ukawa is beginning to
make some ground as it claws its way through the pack, moving up 7 places
to 54th. M&P Phase One are so far delivering a reprise of the confident
performance that we saw at Spa before the failure of their gearbox, having
moved up from 38th to 25th place and are placed 16th in the Superbike class,
just outside the points. In contrast Kocinski and Takeda on Bike No 100 have
dropped back from 7th to 35th. The Hyabusa continues to run in 10th place
with a glut of other 'XF' bikes behind it. It can't be easy even for R1's to get
past that 175bhp monster...

News at 12.03 local time

30 minutes into the race, the pole position RC45 of Itoh and Ukawa is running
far down the order in 61st place whilst Haga and Crafar are currently 4th. M&P
Phase One are lying 38th whilst the Zonghsen Team RC45 are 42nd.

Bruno Bonhuil who rode for the Spa winning Suzuki Portugal team is riding
the Zongshen bike at Suzuka; if he finishes the race in the points he stands
to move up in the Endurance World Championship standings after three
rounds. Currently Bonhuil is 5th equal with 50 points, whilst the joint leaders
Rymer and D'orgeix have 72.

The FCC Team with the enigmatic TSR AC90M are running 69th. The leading
non-superbike is currently the No 12 Hyabusa in 10th - presumably blocking
the path of all behind it with its great bulk.

News at 10.00 local time (2am BST):

The first placed qualifier, the No 33 Lucky Strike Honda of Ukawa and Itoh
crashed with Ukawa on board during the special stage warn up, but the bike
should be back on line for the start, as far as we are aware Ukawa was not
injured.

The same cannot be said for Freddie Spencer who was forced to withdraw
after injuries sustained in a practice crash. His place has been taken by
Yuichi Takeda who races with John Kocinski on the Castol Honda RC45.

The top non-superbike qualifier is the GSX-R1300 Hayabusa of Yoshimura
Suzuki GP1 Daxim in 12th place followed by the Morowaki Motul VTR1000 in
13th. The 3rd non-super bike is the ZX9R of Team HBD in 18th place. The
three naked class bikes entered (two ZRX1100 and a Z1) have qualified in
32nd, 66th and 74th (last).

The weather at the Suzuka track as the count down to the start ticks away is
fine and sunny.

As usual local riders dominate the starting grid. In first place are Itoh and
Ukawa on the Lucky Strike Honda RC45, with the Kawasaki ZX7RR of
Yanagawa in 2nd place and Haga’s Yamaha in 4th.

Since yesterday’s first qualifying session, Slight and Edwards have slipped
down a place to 10th. M&P Phase One (Rees and Linden have finished
qualifying in 45th position, but are only seven seconds off the lap time of the
leading bike. A mere 1.5 seconds covers the leading ten bikes.


Saturday - Practice

News from the first practice session: Top three places go to Honda RC45s,
with Yanagawa's ZX7RR in fourth place. Haga's factory R7 takes him to 7th,
Slight (RC45) is 9th and Kocinski (RC45) is 11th. Aoki on the TSR bike is in
13th place, while Endurance regulars M+P Phase One have secured 38th
place with Tony Rees some 8 seconds behind the leaders. The team of
Jeandat and Bonhuil are in 58th place, 12 seconds behind provisional pole
position

The final entry list is now available, and has thrown up a few interesting
entries. The only key player in the World Championship racing at Suzuka is
Bruno Bonhuil, currently lying in fifth equal place. A good result here could
move him to the top of the standings before the Oschersleben race next
month. He is teamed up with Xavier Brichet on the Zongshen RC45 - a team
who haven't finished a race this year.

Another team hoping to last the distance is M&P Phase One, with riders Tony
Rees and Peter Linden hoping to bring some points home for the British
Privateers. After qualifying eleventh at Le Mans and sixth at Spa the team are
at their most competitive since they last raced here in 1993, the year they
won the World Championship.

Away from the championship, there are a whole host of famous names out to
show what they can do in front of the factory top brass. From WSB we have
Aaron Slight and Colin Edwards sharing the no.11 RC45, and Noriyuki Haga
teamed with Simon Crafar on the no.41 Yamaha R7. This is Crafar's first ride
since parting company with the Red Bull Grand Prix team.

Other Grand Prix riders are Tadayuki Okada and Alex Barros on the no. 4
RC45, Haruchika Oaki and Yoshiteru Konishi on the no.778 TSR bike, and
John Kocinski is teamed up with Freddie Spencer on the no.100 RC45. There
are a couple of other familiar names from the past: Shin'ichi Itoh on the 33
bike, and Doug Polen on the number 1 ZX9R. One more to keep an eye on is
up-and-coming American Jamie Hacking, teamed with Norihiko Fujiwara on
the Team Yamaha USA R7, no. 5.




New from Race24 for the Suzuka round is the Rider Profiles section of the
site. We are building up a portfolio of profiles on the top riders from the World
Endurance, World Superbike and Grand Prix series. There are over twenty
riders in there at the moment, and we'll be adding to it over the next few
weeks.


Many thanks to Hirotake Uchida for the latest info on the Suzuka Race.

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