Suzuka 8 Hour Gallery - Steve English Shoots Practice

Suzuka is a race with a rich history and a full factory effort from Honda for the first time years is a real sign of the ever increasing importance of this race once again. Honda had trusted the efforts of supported teams in the past but now they're back and it's a full-fat Fireblade that's in action this weekend. It will take a lot to beat the Yamaha's but this is a good starting point

Sylvain Guintoli is back in action this weekend for the Yoshimura Suzuki squad and the former WorldSBK champion is keen to show exactly how much potential the bike has. A second lap crash cost the team any opportunity of success in 2017 but the bike will be fast once again

Bradley Ray has struggled in recent BSB rounds with grip issues. Armed with Bridgestone tyres this weekend he'll be keen to prove his speed to the Japanese bosses

The Number 21 Yamaha R1 has dominated recent years at the 8 Hours but they'll be under pressure this year. Honda is back with a full factory team, Kawasaki is back with Jonathan Rea and a handful of KRT WorldSBK bigwigs and the Yoshimura Suzuki has already proved to be a one-lap threat

Randy de Puniet has been moved to the Pro-Harc squad and he's certainly not afraid of sliding his Honda Fireblade through the Dunlop Curve!

It's been 20 years since Yukio Kagayama made his 500GP debut but at Suzuka he's still a big draw.

American PJ Jacobsen was elevated to the Red Bull Honda seat vacated by the injured Leon Camier. He'll be out to prove his speed but alongside two factory HRC riders he's been behind on seat time thus far.

Time to towel down! Takakki Nagagami feels the burn in qualifying

Alex Lowes does his best to tend to the grass while out on track on the Number 21 Yamaha

Michael van der Mark looks into the light as he prepares for qualifying at the Suzuka 8 Hours

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Any chance we can get subscriber only hi-res versions?   That shot of Alex Lowes is amazing.

On paper I 100% agree with what you are saying, & (again) on paper its true .......

....... however, we all know fine well, the MuSHASHi Harc Pro was the fattest cream with 8 sugars factory HRC ever made in recent years. As much a factory effort as the current Red Bull, the TSR, in past years, Cabin, 7 Stars even going back to the OKI days nearly 30 years ago.

Lets face it, if the MuSHASHI effort was not a full fat factory effort, HRC would not have "loaned" the likes of Casey Stoner, Nickey Hayden, Leon Haslam, Micky VDM, Kiyo, Nakagami & with TSR they would not have been "loaned" talent like Johnny Rea, Taddy Okada, Kiyo, Akioshi etc

I was very disapointed in HRC to hear them say they are "returning" after 10 years away from Suzuka when they never really left. If what they say is true, then HRC / Honda can remove themselves from the history books (& the top step of the podium) 6 times in the last 10 years.

Like I say, they never left. 

Good photos Steve!
Thanks mate.
(The electronics on the Yamaha must make it much more endurance friendly relative to the others, a much bigger deal here than sprint racing - agree?).

Where are the shots of the sweaty riders cooling off in a mini swimming pool ? :-)   I covered three Suzuka 8 Hour Races. ( 1990, 1994 and 1997 ) Its a long hard hot race. You drink Pocari Sweat by the bucketful. Never have a need to go to the toilet. Just sweat it all out