Suzuka 8 Hours

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This article is about the annual motorcycle endurance race. For the video game, see Suzuka 8 Hours (arcade game).
Suzuka 8hours.png

The Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8 hours (鈴鹿8時間耐久ロードレース Suzuka hachi-jikan taikyū rōdo rēsu?, Suzuka 8 hours Endurance Road Race) is a motorcycle endurance race held at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan each year. The race runs for eight hours consecutively and teams are composed of two riders and one alternate.

History[edit]

The race began in 1978 as a race for prototype Tourist Trophy Formula One (TT-F1) motorcycles which meant the big four Japanese companies (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha), who had unlimited engineering resources, could use them on the track.

Throughout the years, the race had gone through several rule changes in accordance to the FIM, including the restriction to 750cc for F1 bikes

One major change for the race came in 1993. Due to the high popularity of Superbike racing, which had been a support class in previous 8 Hours races, the race now centered around superbikes. The Formula One class, which at the time was the pinnacle of the race, would be removed altogether. Another category included in the race is the Naked class (for motorcycles without fairings - similar to the streetfighter bikes).

At the event's peak during the 1980s, the race attracted in excess of 130,000 spectators while presently it attracts a crowd around 85,000. The record attendance figure is 160,000 in 1990.[1] The race is part of the FIM Endurance World Championship for motorcycles and with the exception of 2005, due to the high importance the big four Japanese manufacturers place on the race, the governing bodies set a race date that avoids conflict with any of the other major championship races.

Star riders[edit]

A main attraction of the Suzuka 8 hours race is that it normally features star riders from MotoGP and Superbike racing factions from around the world. It is not uncommon for a rider to have the 8 Hours race written into their contracts when they acquire a factory ride in MotoGP or Superbike. If the rider has notable success in their respective class during the season, they will usually negotiate to have the requirement of racing future 8 Hours races removed from their contract. Most high-level riders don't like racing it because it breaks up their mid-season momentum and because it is physically draining. Michael Doohan is an example of one such rider who raced the 8 Hours early in his career but had his contractual obligations to the race removed following his significant success in 500cc (now MotoGP).

On the other hand, high-level Japanese riders return for the race annually as it is regarded by the Japanese as one of the biggest motorsport events on the calendar. As the Coke Zero Suzuka 8 hours is part of the FIM World Endurance Racing Championship, its priority on the international calendar, along with the off-weeks in the FIM calendar, makes this race one of the most crucial on the schedule.

Since the 2003 race, race winners have almost been exclusively Japanese, with only an occasional international-level star in the race. This is mostly a result of the date, sometimes conflicting, while other times within just days after the MotoGP class Laguna Seca round. Since 2002, only World Superbike stars have participated in the event, and four European riders have won, with the 2013 three-rider team consisting mostly of European riders. The 2014 calendar changes for the FIM may allow MotoGP riders to participate in the 8 Hours.

Winners[edit]

Year Riders Manufacturer Motorcycle Plate Number
2014 Japan Takumi Takahashi
Netherlands Michael Van Der Mark
United Kingdom Leon Haslam
Honda CBR1000RRW 634
2013 Japan Takumi Takahashi
Netherlands Michael Van Der Mark
United Kingdom Leon Haslam
Honda CBR1000RRW 634
2012 Japan Kousuke Akiyoshi
Japan Tadayuki Okada
United Kingdom Jonathan Rea
Honda CBR1000RRW 11
2011 Japan Kousuke Akiyoshi
Japan Ryuichi Kiyonari
Japan Shinichi Itoh
Honda CBR1000RRW 11
2010 Japan Takumi Takahashi
Japan Ryuichi Kiyonari
Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda CBR1000RRW 634
2009 Japan Daisaku Sakai
Japan Kazuki Tokudome
Japan Nobuatsu Aoki
Suzuki S-GSX-R1000 12
2008 Japan Ryuichi Kiyonari
Spain Carlos Checa
Honda CBR1000RRW 11
2007 Japan Yukio Kagayama
Japan Kousuke Akiyoshi
Suzuki S-GSX-R1000 34
2006 Japan Takeshi Tsujimura
Japan Shinichi Itoh
Honda CBR1000RRW 778
2005 Japan Tohru Ukawa
Japan Ryuichi Kiyonari
Honda CBR1000RRW 7
2004 Japan Tohru Ukawa
Japan Hitoyasu Izutsu
Honda CBR1000RRW 7
2003 Japan Yukio Nukumi
Japan Manabu Kamada
Honda VTR1000SPW 71
2002 Japan Daijiro Kato
United States Colin Edwards
Honda VTR1000SPW 11
2001 Italy Valentino Rossi
United States Colin Edwards
Honda VTR1000SPW 11
2000 Japan Tohru Ukawa
Japan Daijiro Kato
Honda VTR1000SPW 4
1999 Japan Tadayuki Okada
Brazil Alex Barros
Honda RC45 4
1998 Japan Shinichi Itoh
Japan Tohru Ukawa
Honda RC45 33
1997 Japan Shinichi Itoh
Japan Tohru Ukawa
Honda RC45 33
1996 United States Colin Edwards
Japan Noriyuki Haga
Yamaha YZF750 45
1995 New Zealand Aaron Slight
Japan Tadayuki Okada
Honda RC45 11
1994 United States Doug Polen
New Zealand Aaron Slight
Honda RC45 11
1993 United States Scott Russell
New Zealand Aaron Slight
Kawasaki ZXR-7 1
1992 Australia Wayne Gardner
Australia Daryl Beattie
Honda RVF750 11
1991 Australia Wayne Gardner
Australia Mick Doohan
Honda RVF750 11
1990 Japan Tadahiko Taira
United States Eddie Lawson
Yamaha YZF750 21
1989 France Dominique Sarron
France Alex Vieira
Honda RVF750 2
1988 Australia Kevin Magee
United States Wayne Rainey
Yamaha YZF750 3
1987 Germany Martin Wimmer
Australia Kevin Magee
Yamaha YZF750 21
1986 Australia Wayne Gardner
France Dominique Sarron
Honda RVF750 4
1985 Australia Wayne Gardner
Japan Masaki Tokuno
Honda RVF750 3
1984 United States Mike Baldwin
United States Fred Merkel
Honda RS750R 1
1983 France Hervé Moineau
Belgium Richard Hubin
Suzuki GS1000R 6
1982 Japan Shigeo Iijima
Japan Shinji Hagiwara
Honda CB900F 27
1981 United States Mike Baldwin
United States David Aldana
Honda RS1000 1
1980 United States Wes Cooley
New Zealand Graeme Crosby
Suzuki GS1000 12
1979 Australia Tony Hatton
Australia Michael Cole
Honda CB900 6
1978 United States Wes Cooley
United States Mike Baldwin
Suzuki GS1000 2

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Suzuka Circuit: Race Information". SuzukaCircuit.com. Retrieved 2007-03-07. [dead link]

External links[edit]