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Tamada and Edwards, face to face at Suzuka 8 Hours race

Tamada and Edwards, face to face at Suzuka 8 Hours race

Tamada and Edwards, face to face at Suzuka 8 Hours race

Two MotoGP riders Makoto Tamada and Colin Edwards will challenge next weekend at the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour race, one of the most important endurance competitions in the world. The Japanese from Konica Minolta Honda team will attend the Seven Stars 11 Team besides Tadayuki Okada aboard CBR1000RR, while Edwards will try to stop the long Honda wins string at Suzuka 8 Hours joining forces with Noriyuki Haga and the YZF R1 at Yamaha Blue Racing Team. This pair obtained the last Yamaha victory in 1996.

The current BSB leader Ryuichi Kiyonati had to compete with 250cc rider Yuki Takahashi, although the Japanese fractured his left forearm last week at Suzuka circuit while the Humangest Racing rider was preparing the endurance event. Kiyonari's teammate at Bennetts Superbikes, Karl Harris could become the substitute.

The Suzuka weekend begins on Thursday the 27th with free practice sessions for all teams. Qualifying takes place on Friday 28th. Teams are split into two groups to reduce the number of bikes on track at any one time so there are two sessions for each rider from each team in each group, meaning virtually non-stop track action until night practice finishes.

Saturday sees the Suzuka 4 Hour race for 600cc bikes, followed by the Special Stage double-jeopardy Super Pole for the fastest teams. The day ends with a night-time pit walk and the 8 Hours Eve Festival.

The Suzuka 8 Hour race itself starts at 11:30am on Sunday the 30th, following warm-up sessions, an ever popular pit walk and the usual start line attractions. The race finishes at 7:30pm, about half an hour after sunset.

A total of 84 teams have entered the 2006 Suzuka 8 Hour race, racing in six classes (Superbike, SuperProduction, SuperStock, Japanese Superbike and XX Formulas 1 and 2) and representing six manufacturers (Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, BMW, Ducati) as well as the usual Suzuka-only one off entries from the likes of Asahina and Over.

A record ten permanent World Endurance Championship teams will make the long journey to Japan this year, reflecting the ever-growing importance of points scored at Suzuka to the championship.

MotoGP, 2006, Colin Edwards, Makoto Tamada

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