Moto2 race winner Dominique Aegerter has set his sights on securing another podium finish at Sunday's Suzuka 8 Hour race, after impressing for the FCC TSR Honda squad during Saturday's Superpole shootout.

Aegerter qualified in a fine fourth place for the team that also features Frenchman Randy de Puniet and young Australian Josh Hook, a feat made all the more impressive by his outpacing of Honda's other main entry - the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team, which runs GP stars Jack Miller and Takaaki Nakagami.

Having secured eye-catching podiums here in 2014 (when he placed third for Kagayama Suzuki) and '15 (when he finished second for the same FCC squad), the Swiss rider is keen to repeat that feat, and believes Saturday's showing underlines the team's potential.

In the Superpole style shootout, which determined the first ten places of the grid, Aegerter posted an impressive 2m 6.600s lap time - the fastest he has ever lapped the Japanese track - to sit a little under six tenths from Katsuyuki Nakasuga's pole position lap.

"This Superpole mode with just one flying lap is nothing new for me," Aegerter is quoted as saying on his personal website. "I've seen these procedures from the past few years, but today I got the best lap of the weekend in the shootout.

"My 2m 6.6s is my fastest ever lap time at Suzuka, while my fastest lap time this weekend with race tires was a 2m 7.3s, which shows that our bike is working well and we are well prepared.

"But the timing has to fit perfectly for this one lap for the season. In the out-lap you should not push too much, but only when the time is running - so you have to be very sensitive in this round, and you must also quickly understand the grip level of the 'qualifier' tyres.

"We did not change the motorbike in the afternoon, but we only got a new qualifier for Randy and then for me, we had a total of four qualifiers for this weekend, but unfortunately no time to go in a free practice session."

Aegerter went on to speak of his hopes for Sunday's main event and, while acknowledging the sizeable challenge that lies ahead, is sure he and his two team-mates can put in a competitive showing.

"But I think it's a good idea to be able to talk about the expectations of tomorrow's race. It's a huge challenge, and in an eight-hour race a lot can happen at any time - it is always an enormous challenge for both man and material, and seven pit stops for driver change, refueling and tyre change are planned.

"The biggest difficulty in such a long distance race well over the rounds too is the physical burden. Nothing should hinder us after these successful weeks. But I would like to see myself on the podium again. "

By Neil Morrison

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