As expected, the result of the 2019 Suzuka 8-Hours was decided well after the podium ceremony for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, with the factory Kawasaki team protesting Race Direction’s interpretation of the rulebook.
Agreeing with the Kawasaki Racing Team’s reading, the FIM concluded that because the race ended on a red flag, the results should be counted from the first full lap before the incident, which had KRT leading by a comfortable margin.
This overrules Race Direction’s opinion that KRT failed to return to the pits five minutes after the race ended, which saw the Kawasaki team declared a non-finisher, and thus off the podium box.
The back and forth on the rules had led to a confusing situation in the parc fermé, with both the Kawasaki Racing Team and the Yamaha Factory Racing Team believing they had won the race.
At the crux of the issue was the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), which saw its bike blow its motor with just a few laps remaining in the Suzuka 8-Hours race. Slow to get off the racing line, the SERT bike oiled the track, an issue that was compounded by the beginnings of rain.
These slippery conditions caused Jonathan Rea to crash while leading the race by a comfortable margin, which was also timed with the waving of the red flags to stop the race.
Rea was unable to return to the pit lane within five minutes of the start of the red flags, and there is a rule in all FIM racing that states all race finishers must do so at the conclusion of the race. The FIM ruled however that this provision is not described in the case of a red flag finishing the race, and thus should not have applied to the situation at hand.
This means the Kawasaki Racing Team (Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam, and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu) won the 2019 Suzuka 8-Hours, followed by Yamaha Factory Racing Team (Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark, and Katsuyuki Nakasuga), Red Bull Honda (Stefan Bradl, Takumi Takahashi, and Ryuichi Kiyonari), and F.C.C. TSR Honda (Josh Hook, Freddy Foray, and Mike Di Meglio).
Of note, this also changes the points for the FIM Endurance World Championship, but not the overall result.
The full 2019 Suzuka 8-Hours Race Results are below:
Source: FIM; Photo: © 2019 Steve English – All Rights Reserved
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