Yamaha Factory Racing deliver second consecutive pole in Suzuka 8 Hours top ten shoot-out
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team were back on track today, successfully defending their provisional pole position result from yesterday with an unbeatable lap in the Top Ten Trial shoot out.
The legendary Suzuka 8 Hours Top Ten Trial sees the first two riders from the ten fastest teams in yesterday’s qualifying take one hot lap each to decide the first ten starting positions for tomorrow’s race. Having smashed the lap record last year with a stunning 2’06.000s lap for pole, MotoGP rider Pol Espargaró was keen to break under the 2’06s mark. With a 2’06.405s lap to beat, The Spanish rider delivered an almost perfect attack, firing out a 2’06.258s lap to secure pole for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team. Higher track temperatures and less grip meant a new pole record was out of reach, but didn’t prevent Espargaró from claiming the fastest time of the day.
Teammate and number one rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga was the last man of the trial to make his run. With all eyes on him and pole already secured, there was only his fellow Yamaha rider Espargaró to beat. Having shared similar pace all weekend, the shoot out proved to be a close call with Nakasuga laying down a 2’06.435s lap, less than two hundredths of a second from his teammate’s pole time.
Third rider Alex Lowes was on-track in the morning practice with Nakasuga and Espargaró, the trio again keeping the pace at the sharp end as the only team to dip under the 2’08s mark with a best lap of 2’07.877s. The result from today’s Top Ten Trial means The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will start the 39th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours at the front of the pack for the second year running.
Alex Lowes – Yamaha Factory Racing Team
“Of course I’m really happy for the team to be on pole position. It’s a strange position having done nothing myself yet to be on pole but anyway I’m really happy. What’s most important is the race tomorrow, we had a really good day yesterday in the practices; we were all quite fast and consistent so this will be important for tomorrow. I’m really happy to be here with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team. It’s such a fantastic team and we three guys have a really good relationship. It’s very important for a race like this where you have to work together and have fun. I’m looking forward to the race, let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Source: Yamaha Racing