The final day, Day 3 of one of summer’s highlights, the 42nd “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race (Suzuka 8 Hours), got underway at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie, Japan. Rain, sometimes strong, provided a valuable test day for teams who were in great need of test data in the wet, as the weather for this year’s All Japan Road Race Championship, and Suzuka 8 Hours tests, was dry to date.
Wet conditions persisted throughout the day. Teams were divided into two groups, A and B, for the 40-minute Session 7 from 9:00 am and Session 8 from 10:50 am, and the 90-minute Session 9 from 2:00 pm.
Red Bull Honda (#33) rider Stefan Bradl had returned to Germany in the early morning for personal reasons, and was not able to ride on Day 3, leaving Takumi Takahashi to conduct tests for the team. Takahashi was fastest in Session 7, and with his best lap of 2 min 17s363, was clearly faster than everyone else. His nearest rival, a Suzuki, lapped at 2 min 20s581. In Session 8 he was once again the fastest, but fell at the Degner Curve, fortunately uninjured and able to ride the spare bike for 7 laps in Session 9. Takahashi seemed unstoppable as he was 6th fastest even on the spare bike. His best lap in Session 7 was overall fastest for the day. Red Bull Honda, and indeed Takahashi, proved both speed and strength by being fastest in the wet and the dry.