PJ Jacobsen gave an honest review of his steep learning curve having been a late call-up for the factory Honda team at the Suzuka 8 Hours having narrowly missed out on victory.

The American rider became a late replacement for Leon Camier after the British rider suffered a vertebra injury during testing at Suzuka, with Jacobsen partnering up with Takumi Takahashi and Takaaki Nakagami for the race.

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Having had limited time to get up to speed with the #33 Red Bull Honda with Japan Post bike, Jacobsen was thrown an even greater challenge when his final stint coincided with the mid-race race shower with the team sticking to its rider strategy. It meant Jacobsen completed his first laps in the wet with the HRC-run CBR1000RR SP2 in racing conditions while leading the iconic endurance event.

Despite impressing Jacobsen was reeled in by Michael van der Mark on the #21 Yamaha Factory Racing Team and when conditions dried out the team was unable to bridge the time deficit to the defending champions before the chequered flag.

Jacobsen conceded his pace could have been stronger both in wet and dry conditions but a lack of confidence and experience on the Honda meant he didn’t want to risk crashing out.

“It was pretty difficult to be honest having not tested the bike in the wet and going into the unknown,” Jacobsen said. “I was thrown into the deep end but I was also a bit nervous as I knew who I was racing for, the factory team HRC, so there were a lot of things in play in my head.

“I wasn’t too comfortable in my session and I think I could have done a lot better but I was a bit nervous and not riding at my full potential.

“Usually I like wet conditions but I was still in unknown territory with the bike and the track. I was happy to bring the bike back to the pit box and have it ready to go.

“I think we all could have done a bit better but I think they all did a great job as team-mates, they did an awesome job. I can’t thank HRC, Red Bull Japan and everybody for giving me this opportunity to race for this team. It’s great to get my first podium here.”

Honda’s winless run at the Suzuka 8 Hours stretches back to 2014 with the #634 MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda squad with Leon Halsam, now at Kawasaki, van der Mark, now at Yamaha, and Takahashi.



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