After taking control in first qualifying at the Suzuka 8 Hours, Yamaha Factory Racing Team confirmed pole position on the provisional starting grid ahead of Kawasaki Racing Team and Red Bull Honda. The final grid line-up will be decided tomorrow after the Top 10 trial.
Following a particularly eventful and heated first qualifying session, grid positions remained largely static in the second round of qualifying. Yamaha Factory Racing Team retained their place as leaders with Katsuyuki Nakasuga (today’s fastest rider, who posted a 2:05.922 lap), Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark. Kawasaki Racing Team (Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu) were right behind in 2nd place, ahead of Red Bull Honda (Takumi Takahashi, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Stefan Bradl).
Although they significantly upped their performance in the second session, Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing (Sylvain Guintoli, Yukio Kagayama and Kasuki Watanabe) remained in 5th place behind Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda (Javier Fores, Dominique Aegerter and Ryo Mizuno).
YART Yamaha and F.C.C. TSR Honda France in the Top 10
Marvin Fritz shaved more than a half-second off his previous best time, enabling YART Yamaha (Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa) to move up a place and overtake the first FIM EWC team, F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike Di Meglio), who are now 7th on the provisional grid.
Au. Teluru SAG RT, S-Pulse Dream Racing and KYB Moriwaki Racing round off the roll call of the Top 10 teams who will face off tomorrow (Saturday) on a flying lap in the Top 10 Trial to redistribute the final positions on the starting grid of the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours.
Of the other European FIM Endurance World Championship full-season teams, rookie squad VRD Igol Pierret Expériences (Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Xavier Siméon) secured a praiseworthy 13th spot just ahead of current world championship standings leaders Team SRC Kawasaki France (Jérémy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa). Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black), also world title contenders, will start from 17th place. Honda Endurance Racing (Randy de Puniet, Yonny Hernández and Sébastien Gimbert) are in 21st place, and Wójcik Racing Team 24th. Teams beyond 25th position include Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance, who were handicapped by engine shut-offs, Omega Maco Racing, Bolliger Team Switzerland, Eva RT Webike Tati Team Trick Star, GSM Racing and Motobox Kremer Racing.
All the teams that have qualified beyond 10th place will be back on the track at 11.30am local time on Sunday 28 July for the start of the 42nd edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours.
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