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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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MotoGP, 2007

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