Dunlop teams impress in gruelling Suzuka 8 Hours
Leading Dunlop teams impressed with their performance and determination in Sunday’s Suzuka 8 Hours despite challenges that ultimately prevented the front-running teams from challenging for the victory. There was success in the Superstock class, however, with a Dunlop team on the podium.
Full-season FIM Endurance World Championship outfits BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and Webike SRC Kawasaki France both showed consistent and impressive pace on this unfamiliar track, battling against many local teams who know the Suzuka circuit better. Furthermore, the #37 BMW and #11 Kawasaki teams didn’t participate in the official pre-event test, meaning their first experience of the track and conditions in three years came at the start of race week.
Even with shorter preparation time than their rivals, the two European Dunlop teams were consistently in the mix. Unfortunately, both teams suffered misfortunes during this most challenging of races in hot, humid conditions. A mechanical issue when the BMW was ninth forced Ilya Mykhalchyk to push his bike back to the pits but the team was unable to repair, so had to retire early.
SRC Kawasaki performed an impressive comeback after a low-speed drop for Randy de Puniet and subsequent trip to the pits for repairs. After this delay, the French team fought back with consistent pace to finish 15th.
For the Superstock class, Suzuka is not a points-paying round of the EWC championship or the Dunlop Superstock Trophy. Therefore, the class this weekend featured a high-quality field of predominantly Japanese teams, several of which chose Dunlop tyres, including the TONE RT SYNCEDGE 4413 BMW with former WSBK rider Shinichi Nakatoni, which finished on the podium in third. In fourth was the TERAMOTO@J-TRIP Racing Suzuki crew, which included 90s/00s Grand Prix racer Nobuatsu Aoki, who decided that Suzuka would be his final professional race, retiring in style.
Dunlop teams in Formula EWC and Superstock each had a range of different slick racing tyres, drawing on Dunlop’s European and Japanese product portfolios and including a variety of KR slicks and development tyres. The consistent development of Dunlop tyres was underlined by Markus Reiterberger setting a Dunlop lap record on the BMW.
David Auerbacher, Event Leader EWC, Dunlop: “Congratulations to all the Dunlop teams for showing such determination in what is always a challenging and demanding race. It’s a shame that both SRC Kawasaki and BMW were unable to stay in the lead battle but both teams should be proud of their respective success, with a Dunlop lap record for BMW and an impressive comeback for SRC. The leading Superstock teams like the TONE RT SYNCEDGE BMW and TERAMOTO@J-TRIP Racing Suzuki put on a great show for their home fans, and we’re pleased to celebrate a podium finish. The EWC season concludes at the Bol d’Or in six weeks and we’ll be working hard to prepare for another 24-hour race.”
Dunlop Europe is one of the world's leading manufacturers of motorcycle tyres with an impressive track record of motorsport successes. Dunlop Europe is a technical partner of leading Endurance World Championship teams, the official tyre supplier to the FIM Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships and the most successful tyre brand in the history of the Isle of Man TT. Off-road, Dunlop is the choice of MXGP race winners and champions.