Leon Haslam has emulated his World Superbike Championship team-mate Jonathan Rea by winning the iconic Suzuka 8 Hours endurance event alongside rookie competitor Michael van der Mark.
Still recovering from the broken leg he suffered in April after a crash at Assen, Haslam, van der Mark and local rider Takumi Takahashi stayed out of trouble to take the MuSASHI RT HARC-PRO Honda to victory.
A superb result for Haslam given the gruelling event and his slow road to recovery, his feat is arguably matched by that of young van der Mark, the 20-year-old winning the iconic race at his first attempt. Historically, a good performance at the Suzuka 8 Hours in front of the Japanese manufacturers has counted for much in terms of career prospects.
Suzuki filled the remaining podium spots, with Yoshimura's Josh Brookes, Takuya Tsuda and Nobuatsu Aoki coming home in second position, while the 'legends' Kagayama Suzuki team of Yukio Kagayama, Noriyuki Haga and Kevin Schwantz produced an excellent performance to get themselves onto the rostrum in third place.
Last year's winner Rea endured a day to forget after his team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari crashed the FCC TSR at the half-way point and was forced to retire.