Kousuke Akiyoshi showed his agility on the rainy first day of the pretesting (au & Teluru Kohara RT).

Suzuka 8 Hours: Kohara RT tops 2nd during public testing on first day, Stoner joins the pack

The second public pretesting for the 2015 Coca-Cola Zero Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race will be held in Suzuka Circuit. The No. 090 au & Teluru Kohara RT (ridden by Kousuke Akiyoshi, Kazuma Watanabe and Tetsuta Nagashima) had the top record of 2 minutes, 18 seconds and 70 milliseconds on the first day.

Unfortunately, it had been raining since morning at Suzuka Circuit. Each team cautiously raced on the circuit on the first session in the morning because the rain was heavy. However, Akiyoshi, who transferred to another team this year, has surpassed his rivals by three seconds with 2:22.581 lap time. When the rain was lighter in the afternoon, he achieved a shorter lap time of 2:18.70. He also logged 2:18 lap time during the limited night racing of the first day. They concluded the first day with an outstanding performance on the wet road.

The No. 17 Team KAGAYAMA (Yukio Kagayama, Noriyuki Haga & Ryuichi Kiyonari) achieved the 2nd place with 2:20.439 lap time. Kiyonari came rushing and joined the first day of the pretesting although his name was not included in the pretesting entries at first. Kiyonari aggressively rode together with Kagayama and Haga, logging many laps. The No. 012 Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance team (Takuya Tsuda & Alex Lowes) achieved the 3rd place with 2:21.487 lap time.

MuSashi RT Harc-Pro is expected to win its third consecutive championship. Former MotoGP champion Casey Stoner also participated in the Suzuka 8 Hours this year. Many fans rushed to the paddock to see him in person early in the morning, and when he first entered the course, a lot of the media took photos of him at the pit. Everyone felt the overwhelming public and media attention during that day.

However, because of the rainfall, they were only able to race all-out during the second session in the afternoon. It’s the first time in 12 years since Stoner rode a motorcycle tuned up for an 8-hour endurance race, so he had to get used to riding it first. They are aiming to level up for tomorrow’s session.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)