Stefan Bradl is set to make his overdue Suzuka 8 Hours debut this year part of the Red Bull Honda line-up having missed the 2017 race with an ear infection.

The HRC test rider had been scheduled to make his maiden outing at the iconic race two years ago for FCC TSR Honda but was ruled out by an inner ear infection which saw Josh Hook called up as a last-minute replacement.

Having also stayed away last year, Bradl will make his Suzuka 8 Hours bow this year as part of the #33 Red Bull Honda line-up alongside Honda World Superbike rider Ryuichi Kiyonari and All-Japan JSB1000 championship leader Takumi Takahashi.

Bradl is hopeful of ending Honda’s poor run at the event with its last victory stretching back to 2014 which has been followed by four consecutive wins for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team.

“I’m glad to be a part of Honda’s factory team. I’m excited to be racing in this race because it’s a very important race for Honda, and many racing legends have won here,” Bradl said. “I’ll do my best with my team-mates, who have won here, to show the fans an exceptional race.”

FCC TSR Honda, who remain in the fight for the Endurance World Championship following victory at Oschersleben last weekend, take on Suzuka 8 Hours with their regular rider line-up of Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike de Meglio.

Honda Racing BSB rider Xavi Fores will make his Suzuka 8 Hours debut with MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda, winners in 2010, 2013 and 2014, also Ryo Mizuno and a third rider to be announced at a later date.

“I'm really excited I will be racing with the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO. Honda. team in the Suzuka 8 hours, a truly famous race,” Fores said. “I’m also deeply grateful to have the opportunity to race as a member of the Honda family.

“It’s my first time in an endurance race at Suzuka, but I already can’t wait. I’ll do my best to get good results.”

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