Swan Yamaha British Superbike stars Tommy Hill and Noriyuki Haga will race for the Monster Energy Yamaha YART squad in July's Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race.
The pair will ride alongside Yamaha MotoGP
test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, currently competing in the premier JSB1000 class of the All Japan Road Race Championships.
Haga, who will be competing in the Suzuka 8 Hours for the tenth time, said: “Machine trouble took us out of the race and let down many fans at my last Suzuka 8 Hours in 2006.
“This time, we're here to make up for that performance and looking at our rider line-up, I think we have a good chance to aim for the top and show the fans our determination. Now the only thing left to do is wish for good luck!”
By contrast, reigning BSB
champion Hill will be making his 8 Hours debut.
“To race at Suzuka for Yamaha is great news for me!” said the Englishman. “It is to represent the Yamaha racing brand as well as compete in the British Superbike Championship. This will be my first time competing at the Suzuka Circuit, but I am very much looking forward to racing there.”
Nakasuga, who finished sixth in the damp 2011 Valencia MotoGP
finale whilst riding in place of an injured Jorge Lorenzo, believes he can more than hold his own alongside Haga and Hill.
“We have two excellent riders in Tommy Hill and Haga this year. We all have great ability and strong personalities, but I feel like I can lead them as one of the fastest riders on a YZF-R1,” he said.
“The Suzuka 8 Hours is a team battle, so good teamwork between the riders is important as well. I think we'll perform well as we have a good balance between an experienced rider like Haga, and a young rider like Tommy. Please look forward to the race!”
Team manager Mandy Kainz labelled the rider line-up as an R1 'best of the best'.
“I'm very proud and happy for YART to bring together the best of the best YZF-R1 riders as a 'dream team' for the Suzuka 8 Hours race,” said Kainz. “Our expectations are quite high, but the most important thing for YART was to bring the Yamaha family closer together. To have Katsuyuki, Nori and Tommy on one bike will make the whole historical Suzuka race more exciting. I can't wait for the race to start.”
The Suzuka 8 Hours is one of the most important events of the year for the Japanese manufacturers.
The 2012 event will be held on July 29.