World Superbike rider Leon Camier has endured a difficult season thus far in the World Superbike Championship. Breaking ribs and suffering from a lung contusion during Race 1 at Aragon, Camier had to miss the next two rounds of the 2018 season.
Now suffering another crash, this time at the Suzuka 8-Hours test in Japan, Camier is once again on the mend, fracturing the C5 vertebra in his neck.
In the FIM Endurance World Championship, the GMT94 Yamaha team is at the top of the heap. The defending champions, GMT94 Yamaha is only 10 points back in the current season from holding the FIM EWC trophy, with only one race remaining.
One round is all that the French team has, however, as the GMT94 Yamaha team will be calling it quits after this month’s Suzuka 8-Hours race. Needless to say, this is huge news for motorcycle endurance racing fans.
With three world titles under its belt and seventeen FIM EWC race victories on its tally, GMT94 Yamaha will leave the Endurance World Championship for happier hunting grounds in the World Supersport Championship.
As such, the French squad will leave a massive hole behind in EWC, as the GMT94 Yamaha squad tackles the remainder of the 2018 WorldSSP season with Corentin Perolari, before taking on the World Supersport Championship full-time in 2019.
What you are looking at here is the bike that Honda hopes will win the Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race this year. It is called the Honda CBR1000RRW.
It is not all that different from the WorldSBK-spec model, the one that Leon Camier and Jake Gange are competing with currently (and that PJ Jacobsen is helping develop), save for some interesting changes.
For starters, the Honda CBR1000RRW dumps its Cosworth boxes, and instead runs the Magneti Marelli electronics package that Jacobsen is using in WorldSBK.
Also, there are some obvious bodywork changes, namely where the exposed front spars of the frame would be, which are now covered by a silver painted panel.
Then of course, there are the mechanical changes for endurance duty, like quick-change wheel pieces and functional lights. Also note the Nissin brakes, Showa Öhlins suspension, and Bridgestone tires (the FIM EWC is the last major series where there is competition also amongst the tire brands).
Not wanting to be left out in the cold, today marks Kawasaki’s response to the growing Suzuka challenge, and all three factories have a chance of winning one of Japan’s biggest bragging rights in the motorcycle industry.
The victory put a stamp on their dominance of the one race each year that the Japanese manufacturers place more emphasis on than any other. As such, Asphalt & Rubber takes a look at the winning machine, the Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s YZF-R1.
Vince Lombardi once said that he “firmly believes that any man’s finest hour is that moment when he has worked his heart out for a good cause and he lies exhausted on the field of battle. Victorious.”
The day is done, the battle is won, and for a third consecutive year, Yamaha lifted the Suzuka 8-Hours trophy.
It was a dominant performance by the #21 crew, and in the aftermath they sat and enjoyed their success. They weren’t exhausted, but for Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark, and Katsuyuki Nakasuga this was the final moment of their 2017 in Suzuka, Japan.
Sitting in their paddock office, the trio of riders were relaxed, but the emotions of the day were starting to take hold.
Yamaha retained its vice-like grip on the Suzuka 8-Hours by leading the way in qualifying, ahead of this weekend’s 40th edition of the legendary race, but Honda’s consistency could be a real threat.
Alex Lowes was the pace-setter for the Factory Yamaha Team with the WorldSBK star setting his fastest ever lap of the Japanese circuit. His 2’06.4 was marginally faster than his teammate, Katsuyuki Nakasuga, and afterwards Lowes was pleased with their efforts and excited for the weekend.
“I’m really happy with today,” said a smiling Lowes. “I did a 2’06.4 on the same tires that we will be using for the race, so that’s very positive. It’s also the first time that I’ve done a 2’06 around here. Today was difficult in the morning because there were some damp patches, but the bike is really good here.”