It's the event of the entire season we've all been waiting for. We're obviously talking about the Suzuka 8 Hours, the final round of the World Endurance Championship, scheduled this weekend. The 42nd edition of the race of the rising sun will lower its curtain on the 2019-2020 season of the series and, of course, it has piqued everyone's curiosity.
That's right, since all the top teams are participating in this stage at the "roller coaster". This also includes Yamaha that, after dominating the last four editions, will present itself at the starting blocks with the consolidated trio formed by Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Michael van der Mark, and Alex Lowes. The team's R1 will feature a historic new livery, with the same colors of the Tech21 and is aiming for the fifth center in front of the home crowd.
Certainly, it won't be so simple and obvious, since the Dutch rider is still looking to get back in shape after he fractured his wrist about a month ago at Misano, needing surgery. As if that weren't enough, there's a competition to deal with that is becoming increasingly fierce, like Red Bull Honda, protagonist of the recent pre-race tests, so much so as to whip the competition into shape.
For more information, go see the Fireblade's potential, which will be able to count on the support of the HRC. The Japanese team is relying on Takumi Takahashi, Stefan Bradl, and Ryuichi Kiyonari this year and is hungry for redemption after its second place a year ago.
In the fight between Yamaha and Honda, keep an eye out for Kawasaki. A real dream team was set up by the Akashi company, which has decided to focus strongly on Johnny Rea. The four-time world champion, currently leading the SBK World Championship, will be the team's standard-bearer, and is aiming to redeem himself for his fall during the last edition and do better than third place. Leon Haslam will be with the Cannibal in the pit-box, as will the revelation from the last few races, Turkish rider Toprak Razgatlioglu. In short, all the ingredients that can question Yamaha's domain are there.
And, finally, what can we say about Suzuki, at the starting blocks with the Yoshimura squad? One year ago, it was an 8 Hours with a bitter aftertaste, to such an extent that it ended up in tenth position. This time, the goal is to do more. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli knows this well, along with Kazuki Watanabe and Yukio Kagayama, who will replace Bradley Ray.
The race will begin Sunday, 4:30am CEST.