Yamaha Factory Racing Team make history with Suzuka 8 Hours victory
In their sixtieth anniversary year, Yamaha Motor Corporation claimed a historic Suzuka 8 Hours win as the Yamaha Factory Racing Team of Pol Espargaro, Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Bradley Smith rode their YZF-R1 to victory, also giving Bridgestone its tenth consecutive victory as a tire supplier at the ‘8Tai’.
The race took place in fully dry conditions with no rainy periods, but a number of incidents resulted in a total of six Safety Car phases; an unusually high number for the Suzuka 8 Hours. As a result, only a total of 204 laps were completed by the teams on the leading lap, even though the pace throughout this year’s race was exceptionally fast. The quickest lap of the race, a 2’08.496 was set by Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s Nakasuga on lap 6.
Finishing in second place at the 2015 Suzuka 8 Hours was F.C.C. TSR Honda who utilized just two of their three riders – Josh Hook and Dominique Aegerter – during the race and were the only other team to finish on the same lap as the race winners. As well as being fitted to the top two teams at this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours, a total of six out of the top ten teams in the race were equipped with Bridgestone tires.
The consistently sunny conditions and high ambient temperature resulted in track temperatures reaching a scorching 61°C three hours into the race, before dropping to 38°C at the end of the eight hour contest. To ensure the riders could manage this large variance in track temperature with no loss of performance, Bridgestone developed a range of compounds using its MotoGP experience for the riders at this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours.
Syu Ishibashi – Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Responsible for Group Global Marketing Strategy, Bridgestone Corporation
“I would like to congratulate the Yamaha Factory Racing Team on their impressive victory at this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours, the first for Yamaha in nineteen years. Well done also to team R1 & Yamalube who won the Superstock class using our BATTLAX production tires. Today we witnessed a great race which once again attracted a dedicated audience of fans despite the harsh weather. I am really glad that we could contribute to the winning team’s victory by supplying Bridgestone tires with excellent performance in what were extreme conditions. Our tenth successive win as a tire supplier at the Suzuka 8 Hours is a great source of honor for me. Finally, we would like to keep supporting this splendid race event and extend our record for consecutive victories.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle tire Development Department
“Congratulations to Yamaha on their first 8Tai victory in nineteen years! Everyone in the Yamaha Factory Racing Team worked very hard to achieve their goal and Bridgestone is proud to have supported them in this venture. This is a very challenging event and the team managed their tire allocation very well. Bradley, Katsuyuki and Pol have a lot of experience with Bridgestone tires and although the tires we develop for the Suzuka 8 Hours are unique, they share the same excellent grip and consistency as our other race tires and I believe this helped them extract maximum performance from their R1 throughout the whole race. Congratulations also to F.C.C. TSR Honda on their impressive second place. The race was run in extreme conditions and due to the numerous safety car periods, both of our teams on the podium utilized different strategies during the race. However, despite these challenges the strong and consistent performance of our tires meant they could achieve excellent results.”
Wataru Yoshikawa – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager – Race Winner
“I am very happy to have achieved Yamaha’s first Suzuka 8 Hours win in nineteen years and on behalf of the team, staff and riders I’d like to thanks Bridgestone for supporting us in this victory. This result is attributed to the cooperation between our team and Bridgestone to set up the bike and race strategy so that the tire’s performance could be fully utilized. Once again, I am pleased to share this win with Bridgestone and hope we can continue to work together in future.”