Josh Brookes will return to the Suzuka 8 Hour race at the end of July this season, riding a brand new Yoshimura Suzuki alongside Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda and fellow British Superbike returnee, Sylvain Guintoli. The star-studded line up comprises of riders who have all had world championship experience in the last two seasons.
Josh Brookes comes off the back of an incredibly successful Isle of Man TT, where he achieved a personal best of 6th place in the Senior TT, also becoming Norton’s fastest ever rider around the 37 mile Mountain Course. Brookes rides for the Anvil Hire Tag Racing Yamaha Team in the British Superbike championship, where he currently sits in 4th place. The BSB championship returns this weekend at Knockhill.
The Australian competed in the event last year, finishing 3rd with teammates Tsuda and Noriyuki Haga, who has been dropped for 2017. The event will highlight Brookes as one of the most versatile riders in racing, having successfully competed on a range of manufacturers already this year, such as Norton (TT) Supersport 600 (TT) and Yamaha Superbike (BSB).
Sylvain Guintoli is set to make his Suzuka 8 Hour debut alongside Brookes. Guintoli flew out to Malaysia to test the Endurance configuration for 3 days in January, in preparation for the event.
The Frenchman has had three races over in MotoGP, riding the Factory Suzuki in place of injured rookie Alex Rins. Having had a difficult start to his British Superbike season on the new Suzuki, he will be looking to gain confidence and gel with the bike over at the Suzuka 8 Hours, a race that Yoshimura Suzuki haven’t won since 2009 with Daisaku Sakai, Kazuki Tokudome and veteran, Nobuatsu Aoki.
Takuya Tsuda is Ecstar Suzuki’s test rider in MotoGP. The Japanese rider made his debut in MotoGP at Jerez earlier this year, finishing 17th.
“Suzuka is a bit like a love-hate relationship. When I’m there and I’m riding the bike and it’s really hot and I’m exhausted, I think to myself, ‘Why do I out myself through this?’ There’s so many years I haven’t ridden and I’ve been gutted I’m not there. If I was to stop going without winning it, I’d be giving up in effect and I’m really not like that! I don’t want to give up on the challenge. I had to beg to get my first ride, saying ‘pick me, pick me’. Even if I won I probably wouldn’t stop going! Because I’d want to do it again and try and better myself.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m scared to do it but I’m motivated to do it. I’ve set goals throughout my career and this is another one. To win this and already have a BSB title would be incredible, then I’d really want to win a TT! It’s good for me that I haven’t got everything I ever dreamed about wanting. If I had, then I’d be a bit like Casey Stoner. Retired and very boring. I’m sure he’s not that bothered but I’d be a bit of a lost soul without these kind of goals in my life”.
The Suzuka 8 Hour Race will take place on the 28th – 30th of July.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko