Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team's domination of the Suzuka 8 Hour event continued as Yukio Kagayama sealed pole position in a closely contested Top Ten Trial. Having topped the timesheets on both Thursday and Friday, the Suzuki squad were the hot favourites going into the shootout for the prime places on the grid, but a surprise challenge came from Monster Yamaha YART.
Unsurprisingly, Kagayama was the dominant force within his team to set a 2:08.001 but Katsuyuki Nagasuka managed to get to within 0.024s of his fellow countryman. The permanent world championship teams weren't expected to be mixing it at the front but Nagasuka's lap to give the Yamaha squad a golden opportunity to pick up a healthy points haul.
Musashi RT HARC-PRO were also closer than expected with 21 year old youngster Takumi Takahashi finishing up only a tenth and a half slower than the fastest team in third. Kousuke Akiyoshi is the other end of the scale in terms of experience but that didn't translate to a faster time, and his FCC TSR Honda team will start fourth.
Two other permanent teams made it into the top ten, with Yamaha Racing France GMT94 Ipone and BMW Motorrad France 99 qualifying sixth and seventh. Both will be hopeful of closing the gap to championship leaders Suzuki Endurance Racing Team who will start all the way back in 15th.
Top Ten Trial Result:
|Pos||Team||Bike||Fastest Rider||Lap Time|
|1||Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team||Suzuki||Y.Kagayama||2:08.001|
|2||Monster Yamaha YART||Yamaha||K.Nagasuka||2:08.025|
|3||Musashi RT HARC-PRO||Honda||T.Takahashi||2:08.162|
|4||FCC TSR Honda||Honda||K.Akiyoshi||2:08.258|
|5||Honda SuzukaRacing Team||Honda||T.Yasuda||2:09.170|
|6||Yamaha Racing France GMT94 Ipone||Yamaha||M.Lagrive||2:09.409|
|7||BMW Motorrad France 99||BMW||E.Nigon||2:09.545|
|8||Crown Keibihosyou Racing||Honda||T.Hamaguchi||2:09.725|
|9||Honda Dream RT Sakuria||Honda||W.Maxwell||2:10.300|
|10||Eva RT Test Type-01 Trickstar FRTR||Kawasaki||O.Deguchi||2:10.979|
|Selected Others (Did Not Qualify For Top Ten Trial)|
|15||Suzuki Endurance Racing Team||Suzuki||V.Philippe||2:12.103|
|20||Honda TT Legends||Honda||C.Donald||2:13.961|