Kagayama Puts Yoshimura on Top In Suzuka Qualifying

by Louis Suddaby

Yukio Kagayama kept the Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team at the top of the timesheets after the second day's running at the Suzuka 8 Hours.

This event is the only in the FIM World Endurance Championship where the quickest individual lap times decide the grid, as opposed to the average time of the team's riders. As a result, Kagayama's 2:07:884 put Yoshimura on top with FCC TSR Honda 0.376s back in second thanks to Kousuke Akiyoshi's effort.

Former MotoGP star Makoto Tamada set the third quickest time overall for Musashi RT HARC-PRO while Monster Yamaha – YART were grateful to Japanese rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga for his lap of 2:09.045 which dragged them up to fourth, and the quickest of the permanent championship teams.

Suzuka also features a “Top 10 Trial” – a Superpole-style session where the top two riders from the quickest 10 teams go back on track to race for the final starting grid on Saturday. Crucially, championship contenders BMW Motorrad France 99 and Yamaha France GMT94 Ipone will be a part of it. Erwan Nigon's 2:10.140 left the BMW squad seventh in the combined classification while the Yamaha team sneaked through in tenth courtesy of Matthieu Lagrive's 2:11.197 in the third and final timed session.

Championship leaders Suzuki Endurance Racing Team will not be a part of the shootout on Saturday though after they finished qualifying down in 14th overall. Daisaku Sakai was the quickest of their three riders and managed to get up to sixth in the third session but with the majority of the quickest times being set in the first, the reigning champions found themselves outside the top ten.

John McGuinness was the quickest of the Honda TT Legends trio with a 2:14.396, and the series debutants will start Sunday's race from 21st position.

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