Alex Lowes

Suzuka 8 Hours: Yamaha aims for consecutive titles with two factory teams

On June 1, Yamaha Motor Company announced that at this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race, it will enter two teams, the Yamaha Factory Racing Team and the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team. It will aim to capture its second straight victory and sixth ever with their YZF-R1 factory bike specifically designed for the 8 Hours.

The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will consist of Katsuyuki Nakasuga, winner of last year’s Suzuka 8 Hours who is currently the reigning champion for four years running in the JSB1000 class of the All Japan Road Race Championship. The team will also compete with MotoGP rider, Pol Espargaro, as well as Alex Lowes who competes in the World SBK in which Yamaha has returned to competition from this year. The team will be managed by Wataru Yoshikawa, the man in charge of Yamaha’s All Japan Road Race Championship factory team.

Meanwhile, the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team led by manager Mandy Kainz, will compete with regular Broc Parkes who will compete at the 2016 World Endurance Championship, as well as Kouta Nozane and Takuya Fujita, young top riders in the All Japan Road Race Championship.

Last year, Yamaha captured the Suzuka 8 Hours for the first time in 19 seasons led by riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. This year, Yamaha will aim for its first back-to-back championship at Suzuka since they last accomplished the feat back in 1987 (Martin Wimmer & Kevin Magee) and 1988 (Kevin Magee & Wayne Rainey).