Defending Suzuka 8 Hours champions Kawasaki have confirmed their three riders for the 2020 race, as Jonathan Rea is joined by new World Superbike team-mate Alex Lowes with Xavi Fores completing the line-up.

Last year Kawasaki held on to take a dramatic victory at the iconic endurance race to mark the brand’s first victory at the Suzuka 8 Hours since 1993.

Rea and then team-mate Leon Haslam shared the riding duties, with third rider Toprak Razgatlioglu kept in reserve for the entire race, which saw a dramatic finish when five minutes from the finish Rea crashed on oil dropped from another bike which had suffered a major technical issue moments earlier.

The race was red-flagged moments later with defending champions Yamaha inheriting the lead – ridden by Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakagsuga – but following consultation with race direction over red flag rules at the end of the race Kawasaki were confirmed as the race winners on countback to the last completed lap before the red flag.

With Kawasaki aiming to defend its crown, Rea returns for 2020 and is joined by Lowes following his move from Yamaha to Kawasaki over the winter while Fores completes the line-up having stepped in as Yamaha-bound Razgatlioglu’s replacement at Puccetti Kawasaki in this year’s World Superbike championship.

The 2020 Suzuka 8 Hours is set to take place on July 16-19, subject to developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic which has already forced the postponement of all major motorsport until at least the end of May.

Japan’s capital city Tokyo also saw its Olympics and Paralympics postponed by one year to 2021 due to the coronavirus measures.