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Suzuka 8 Hours celebrates 30 year anniversary

Suzuka 8 Hours celebrates 30 year anniversary

The 30th running of the Suzuka 8 Hours race takes place this Sunday, at the classic 5.821km Japanese circuit which gives its name to the prestigious event.

The 30th running of the Suzuka 8 Hours race takes place this Sunday, at the classic 5.821km Japanese circuit which gives its name to the prestigious event. The race is a huge event on the Japanese motorcycle calendar and attracts entries from riders in the World Endurance Championship, the Japanese Superbikes series, the Bennetts Bristish Superbikes Championship and of course MotoGP, amongst others.

In this years event HRC are fielding two strong teams as they look to build on their phenomenal record of 21 victories in 29 years.

LCR Honda MotoGP star Carlos Checa will race alongside former 250cc and 500cc Grand Prix rider, and twice 8 Hours victor, Tadayuki Okada, in one team - while reigning BSB Champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, an 8 Hours winner in 2005, partners WSB Championship leader James Toseland in the other. Young Irishman Jonathan Rae, Kiyonaris BSB team-mate, will act as reserve rider for both HRC teams.

Spaniard Checa has no previous Suzuka 8 Hours experience but he has participated in seven Grands Prix on 500cc machinery at Suzuka - taking top 10 finishes on each occasion, including one podium place.

Checa is looking forward to making his debut having spent some time aboard the Honda CBR1000RR bike he will be using on Sunday in some recent test sessions. He commented: ´This is a really good opportunity for me to take part in such a prestigious race. Suzuka is a very nice track and with this team and this bike we have a high chance of success, and to possibly fight for the win.´

´The CBR1000RR is quite neutral and the base set-up we have is pretty good. We´ve already gone very fast in testing so it´s looking promising. Of course it´s really important to get a set-up that works for both riders on the team. And in fact, when I tested we hardly touched the settings - I just worked with the tyres, that´s all. The most important thing is to be consistent and find a good balance for both riders. Compared to the RC212V the CBR feels a little heavier and with less power of course, but the basic feel of the bike is good and I´m looking forward to racing it.´

If Checa can take victory alongside Japanese team-mate Tadayuki Okada he will join an exclusive club of MotoGP riders to have won the famous endurance race, including Wayne Gardner, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Mick Doohan, Daryl Beattie, Daijiro Kato, Tohru Ukawa, Shinichi Ito and current Fiat Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards.

Suzuka 8 Hours race winners 1978 2006:1978
Wes Cooley (USA), Mike Baldwin (USA) Suzuki (194 laps)

1979
Tony Hatton (Aus), Michael Cole (Aus) Honda (197)

1980
Wes Cooley (USA), Graeme Crosby (NZ) Suzuki (200)

1981
Mike Baldwin (USA), Dave Aldana (USA) Honda (199)

1982
Shigeo Iijima (J), Shinji Hagiwara (J) Honda (120)

1983
Herve Moineau (Bel), Richard Hubin (Bel) Suzuki (190)

1984
Mike Baldwin (USA), Fred Merkel (USA) Honda (192)

1985
Wayne Gardner (Aus), Masaki Tokano (J) Honda (195)

1986
Wayne Gardner (Aus), Dominique Sarron (Fra) Honda (197)

1987
Martin Wimmer (Ger) Kevin MaGee (Aus) Yamaha (200)

1988
Kevin MaGee (Aus), Wayne Rainey (USA) Yamaha (202)

1989
Dominique Sarron (Fra), Alex Vieira (Por) Honda (202)

1990
Tadahiko Taira (J), Eddie Lawson (USA) Yamaha (205)

1991
Wayne Gardner (Aus) Mick Doohan (Aus) Honda (192)

1992
Wayne Gardner (Aus), Daryl Beattie (Aus) Honda (208)

1993
Scott Russell (USA), Aaron Slight (NZ) Kawasaki (207)

1994
Doug Polen (USA), Aaron Slight (NZ) Honda (183)

1995
Aaron Slight (NZ), Tadayuki Okada (J) Honda (212)

1996
Colin Edwards (USA), Noriyuki Haga (J) Yamaha (214)

1997
Shinichi Ito (J), Tohru Ukawa (J) Honda (186)

1998
Shinichi Ito (J), Tohru Ukawa (J) Honda (212)

1999
Tadayuki Okada (J), Alex Barros (Bra) Honda (213)

2000
Tohru Ukawa (J), Daijiro Kato (J) Honda (215)

2001
Valentino Rossi (Ita), Colin Edwards (USA) Honda (217)

2002
Daijiro Kato (J), Colin Edwards (USA) Honda (219)

2003
Yukio Nukumi (J), Manubu Kamada (J) Honda (212)

2004
Tohru Ukawa (J) Hitoyasu Izutsu (J) Honda (210)

2005
Ryuichi Kiyonari (J), Tohru Ukawa (J) Honda (204)

2006
Shinichi Ito (J), Takeshi Tsujimura (J) Honda (214)

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007

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