The official race report service of Kawasaki Racing Team.

27 July 2019

KRT Second On The Suzuka 8 Hours Grid

Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8 Hours riders Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu just missed out on pole position for Sunday’s race by 0.014 seconds, after the cancellation of the final Top Ten Trial qualifying session today, due to adverse weather conditions.

The Number 10 Ninja ZX-10RR team has shown great consistency and pace when it mattered at Suzuka and their combined times put them a clear second on the grid for the race.
In normal circumstances the team would have made a final push for pole position in the special Top Ten Trial session today but with persistent bad weather affecting the track conditions it was cancelled. That meant that the final grid line up would be determined from yesterday’s Overall Qualifying Classification, maintaining the KRT squad’s position in second place.
With the no competitive action taking place today the team is more than ready to race tomorrow with a clear aim to win this prestigious race, which is also the finale of the entire 2018/2019 Endurance World Championship.
The race itself, with a ‘Le Mans’ style starting procedure, will be held on Sunday 28 July at 11.30am local time in Japan (02.30 GMT/04.30 CET). Started in daylight, the race will finish in darkness at 19.30. At present, raceday weather conditions are forecast to be overcast but not wet.
With the overall EWC title to be decided at Suzuka the Team SRC Kawasaki France entry of Jeremy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa will race to maintain their leading position in the points after four of the five championship rounds have been completed.
The Number 11 Kawasaki team has a five point lead over the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team at the top of the championship table, and a 23 point lead over the F.C.C TSR Honda France squad.
SRC qualified 14th at Suzuka after the combined lap times were averaged out, with their closest rival three places behind on the grid.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We are really happy with our preparations although it was an unfortunate situation that we did not get any riding done today because of the weather conditions. But, that means that we keep the second position that we secured yesterday. We are in a great starting place and we feel ready. Obviously, endurance races are long so we just need to minimise our mistakes, be consistent and see what happens. Now we will discuss strategy for the race and what will be, will be. There is a lot of support here for the team, Kawasaki and us so we will be doing our best to get a good result.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “We obviously did not get to go out today for the Top Ten Trial because of the weather conditions but yesterday was good. The average time was competitive for the team because we were all within one or two tenths of each other. The consistency is there and now we just have to wait and see what comes in terms of the weather. If it is raining, Johnny and I have some good experience of this. In the dry we are looking to have strong race pace from all three riders. We will wait and see but I am looking forward to it. I feel ready for tomorrow.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu, stated: “Yesterday, Qualifying was good because it was the first time I had tried the bike on new tyres and I set a strong lap time, as did Johnny and Leon. Very good lap times. We ended up in second position, which was very positive. We could not ride again today, after the Top Ten Trial was cancelled because of the track conditions. We are all good, feeling good, and ready to race. We will see how things are tomorrow.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief, stated: “During the test on Wednesday we worked on the points that we had identified that we needed to improve during our previous tests. We found a good base and then in the qualifying session it was very positive because all three riders set good lap times, very close to the fastest. The most important thing to confirm was a good set-up for all three riders, and they all showed good pace. We have found a base set-up that seems better than last year, with a more consistent race rhythm rather than a fast one-lap pace. The race will decide everything now but in terms of our preparation I am quite happy.”