The Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race is more than just a stop on the FIM Endurance World Championship, it is the battle ground for bragging rights between the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.
It is not uncommon to see the Big Four stacking their factory-backed teams with their top talent from MotoGP, World Superbike, and other domestic series, in addition to their local Suzuka experts. This year will be no different.
For Honda, this means recruiting its factory WSBK boys. Yes, Nicky Hayden (along with Michael van der Mark) will join Takumi Takahashi on the factory-backed MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team at the 2016 Suzuka 8-Hour. Boom goes the dynamite.
For those who aren’t familiar with the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO squad, it is a factory-backed Honda team that dominates at Suzuka.
The team won the Suzuka in 2013 & 2014, with Takumi Takahashi, Michael van der Mark, and Leon Haslam at the helm. The team looked set to make it a hat trick in 2015, until the throttle got stuck open while Casey Stoner was on-board.
While nothing is certain in endurance racing, smart money is on the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team to show another strong result.
“For me it is a great honor to go and compete in a race such as Suzuka 8 hours with long history and very different type of race with running start,” said Nicky Hayden. “Pit stops and working with teammates to find the right setup for all us!”
“With the long summer break we have, I am happy to have a chance to stay on the bike and stay sharp. Will be a long tough challenge with many good teams but would be great to win and add the trophy to my collection,” Hayden added.
American PJ Jacobsen will also be at the 2016 Suzuka 8-Hour, racing with the F.C.C. TSR Honda squad, another prominent team that gets factory support from Honda, and last year’s Suzuka 8-Hour runner-up.
F.C.C. TSR Honda is currently 3rd in the Endurance World Championship standings, just 1 point behind Team April Moto Motors Events, and 16 points behind SRC Kawasaki.
“It’s such a great opportunity to race for TSR Honda in the Suzuka 8 hour,” said Jacobsen. “Such an incredible race and to do it with such a top team is an honor. It will be very hot and a difficult race but I will try my hardest and I’m really looking forward to starting the Suzuka weekend already.”
Source: Honda; Photos: © 2016 Steve English – All Rights Reserved