Rea leads Honda to Suzuka 8 Hours win
Jonathan Rea, Kosuke Akiyoshi and Takayuki Okada claim victory in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours endurance event; Hill and Haga are unable to finish.
Jonathan Rea has warmed up for his home round of the World Superbike Championship at Silverstone by claiming victory alongside Kosuke Akiyoshi and Takayuki Okada in the 2012 Suzuki 8 Hours endurance event.
Making up one-third of the FCC TSR Honda team, Rea and his team-mates stayed out of trouble to win by a clear four lap advantage over Honda counterparts Toho Racing, which included Moto2 race winner Yuki Takhashi.
Despite being hampered by a fuel problem early on, Rea was delighted to add the prestigious title to his growing repertoire having finished third on his event debut in 2010.
"I'm so happy to get a win in such a huge race as the Suzuka 8-hours," he said. "I really appreciate the efforts of Kosuke Akiyoshi, Tady Okada, Honda and all the F.C.C. TSR team staff. Kosuke was riding very, very fast, and Tady gave me a lot of really useful advice. I want to thank them both so much."
With the local Bridgestone-shod teams always expected to shine on home soil, the Yamaha GMT 94 team of Kenny Foray and David Checa - brother of reigning WSBK champion Carlos - flew the flag for the regular Michelin-shod FIM Endurance World Championship teams in third.
However, there was disappointment for British Superbike Championship leader Tommy Hill, who was expected to challenge for victory alongside Noriyuki Haga and Katsuyuki Nakasuga when the latter qualified the Monster Energy Yamaha YART team on pole position.
However, Nakasuga all-but-ended their hopes with a crash in the opening stages and though Hill was able to get back out on track after lengthy repairs, a technical issue just a few laps into his stint proved terminal.
Elsewhere, the Honda TT Legends, made up of Cameron Donald, Jon McGuinness and Jason O'Halloran, finished tenth overall, but third of the travelling EWC teams. In all, Hondas made up six of the top ten positions in what is the 20th anniversary year for the Fireblade.