The historic race returns after two years and several riders from the WorldSBK paddock are heading over to Japan
Just a week after the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship visited the Czech Republic for the Prosecco DOC Czech Round, some WorldSBK riders have headed to Japan to compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours before starting their summer break. Four riders from WorldSBK will compete in the endurance race while one from WorldSSP300 will take part in the Superstock class.
Kawasaki have once again entered a factory team, run by the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK squad with riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes competing for the Japanese manufacturer. They will be joined by Leon Haslam who is competing in both WorldSBK and the British championship for Kawasaki. Rea and Haslam are looking to defend his title from 2019, with the race not being held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while Lowes is going in search of his fourth win in five events, having won between 2016 and 2018 for Yamaha. Honda have also entered a factory team and that will be spearheaded by WorldSBK rookie Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), who will take on the Suzuka 8 Hours for the first time while teammate Xavi Vierge has also travelled to Japan with Lecuona as Honda’s reserve rider.
Illya Mykhalchyk, who has replaced Michael van der Mark at times throughout 2022, will compete for BMW alongside 2018S STK1000 Champion Markus Reiterberger. From WorldSSP300, Yuta Okaya will compete on a Kawasaki Superstock machine as he looks to take the Suzuka 8 Hours class honours on home soil, while three-time WorldSBK race winner Akira Yanagawa, who raced in WorldSBK in the late 90s and early 2000s, will take part at the Suzuka 8 hours just a few weeks after his 51st birthday.
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