Suzuka 8 Hours | Honda fends off Kawasaki for pole with Nagashima flyer

Team HRC Honda will begin the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours from pole position after capitalising on another flying lap of the Japanese circuit by Tetsuta Nagashima to head off the threat from Kawasaki.
Team HRC Honda - Suzuka 8 Hours
Team HRC Honda - Suzuka 8 Hours

FULL Suzuka 8 Hours Qualifying Results and Starting Order

Dubbed as something of a grudge match on home soil between Honda and Kawasaki’s flagship factory WorldSBK efforts, while Team Green has the advantage on the international stage, a stunning series of laps on Friday by Nagashima gave Honda a huge margin on the timesheets.

Even so, with Kawasaki’s most potent weapon in Jonathan Rea unable to show his pace on Friday due to rain occurring in both of his qualifying segments, it was hoped the six-time WorldSBK Champion could fight back in Saturday’s Top 10 Trial shootout.

However, while Rea would greatly improve KRT’s performance with a 2m 05.149secs lap, it was still no answer to Nagashima, who - having become the first Superbike rider to break into the 2m 04s bracket on Friday - did it once again with a 2m 04.934secs.

As such, Nagashima - in his first international racing appearance since quitting Moto2 at the end of the 2020 season - two-time Suzuka 8 Hours winner Takumi Takahashi and ex-MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona will get underway from pole, with Rea, Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes getting away from second.

Having split the Honda and Kawasaki pair on Friday, YART slipped to third position as the highest-placed Endurance World Championship entry. The Niccolo Canepa, Marvin Fritz and Karel Hanika on the YART are Yamaha’s main representatives this year after Yamaha Factory Racing turned down the chance to race, reportedly in protest at having its win in 2019 controversially awarded to KRT.

FCC TSR Honda will get away from fourth but its day was marred by a big accident for Gino Rea in the preceding FP2 session, an incident that has seen the Briton taken to hospital by helicopter.

Of the domestic JSB1000 entries, it was SDG Honda that took over as the best placed homegrown effort in fifth, ahead of the sister Sakurai Honda, Astemo Honda and Sofukai Honda teams in sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Sixth overnight after Q2, BMW slipped to ninth on the timesheets when it mattered with its trio of Jeremy Guarnoni, Ilya Mikhalchik and Markus Reiterberger, while the tenth and final spot was assumed by the EVA 01 Kawasaki containing MotoE rider Hikari Okubo.

FULL Suzuka 8 Hours Qualifying Results and Starting Order

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