Leon Camier’s misfortune of suffering a fractured vertebra has become PJ Jacobsen’s gain, as the American racer has been promoted into the factory Honda team at this year’s Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race.The move is a huge win for Jacobsen, for several reasons.
First, the Suzuka 8-Hours has always been an incredibly important race for the Japanese manufacturers, one that they take very seriously.
Second, this year’s race in particular is a pivotal year for Honda, as Big Red is looking to stop Yamaha’s recent run of three consecutive Suzuka victories.
To do this, Honda is fielding a full-factory outfit, the Red Bull Honda team. This is the first time that their has been an official HRC team at Suzuka in 10 years, a sign of how seriously Honda is looking for a win at its home track.
All of this creates a fortunate situation for PJ Jacobsen, as a win by the Red Bull Honda team, would do wonders to elevate his status within the Honda organization, which could lead to a factory ride in the Honda WorldSBK team.
As such, Jacobsen will join MotoGP rider Takaaki Nakagami and All Japan Superbike rider Takumi Takahashi on the factory Suzuka team. This means that Jacobsen’s promotion will leave a hole in the lineup at the MuSASHi HARC-PRO Honda squad.
This vacancy is to be filled by Randy de Puniet, who himself is looking for redemption within Honda’s rank and file, since he left the WorldSBK paddock in 2015.
The 2018 Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race kicks off next week, with the race taking place on Sunday, July 29th.