Isle of Man TT winners John McGuinness and Cameron Donald are excited about racing in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour event this weekend.
The pair are once again lining up for the Honda TT Legends team for the latest round of the Endurance World Championship, and will be joined by Samsung Honda British Superstock rider Jason O’Halloran, whose is standing in for Simon Andrews.
Andrews is still recovering from injuries sustained in a crash at the 2012 Isle of Man TT and will not be able to compete at the Honda-owned Suzuka facility.
The Honda TT Legends team hopes to continue what has been a successful season for the squad so far, having completed the Bol d’Or 24-hour in April and secured a first-ever EWC podium at the 8-hours of Doha in June to lie 2nd in the championship.
This year 60 teams will take part in the Suzuka 8 Hour, including more than 50 specialist Japanese squads with valuable expertise of the notoriously difficult race.
McGuinness, Donald and O’Halloran all have previous experience at the track and, making use of the slick Honda TT Legends pit crew and the 2012 ABS-equipped Fireblade, they hope to secure enough points to remain in the top three.
McGuinness, a 19-times winner at the TT, said:
“I’m excited about going back to Suzuka for a second time. It’s going to be much better now that we have experience of the track and I’ve been looking forward to this one since we left last year!”
“It’s such an iconic event and it would be amazing to do well there. The team has been doing a great job recently – the bike is going well and the stand-in squad got a brilliant result in Qatar.”
“Hopefully we can finish the race and score some valuable points.”
Donald, who campaigned Wilson Craig Honda machinery at the 2012 TT, added:
“Suzuka would have to rate as one of my favourite circuits. It’s technically challenging and usually raced in very hot conditions so it’s never easy!”
“Having had the opportunity to learn the circuit last year, I'm looking forward to building on that knowledge. Racing for Honda in Japan is always an honour and I will be giving it my all.”
“We’re aiming for a strong result to add as many points as possible to our championship effort. I look forward to joining the team again and also my fellow country man Jason, who I’m sure will be a great asset at a circuit he knows well.”
Team boss Neil Tuxworth concluded:
“We’re going into the third round of the Endurance World Championship in a strong position in the standings, but we obviously appreciate that the Suzuka 8-hour is the most difficult race of the year.”
“Not only does it take place in some of the most challenging conditions possible, but it is entered by many factory teams from Japan who are experts on the track.”
“Having said that, I feel confident in the three riders in our line-up. They all have experience of the circuit and the race and hopefully we can have another trouble-free race to score some points.”
“I’d like to think that we can remain in the top three in the championship standings before the two final rounds of the year.”