Monday, July 28, 2008

WSBK: Kiyo and Checa win Suzuka 8 Hour

Honda riders Ryuichi Kiyonari and Carlos Checa have won the prestigious Suzuka 8 hours. The race is the jewel in the crown of Japanese motorcycle racing and the race that the Japanese manufacturers really want to win. MotoGP? WSBK? They don't give a monkey's! As far as they're concerned, the Suzuka 8 hour is the Indy 500, Le Mans 24 hours and Monaco F1GP all rolled into one.

Suzuki won the Suzuka 8 hour last time round, to their amazement, as it is dominated by Honda. They were delighted, even giving their winning rider Yukio Kagayama another ride in WSBK despite the fact that he just falls off and hurts himself all the time. (Nobody likes to see Yukio get hurt, he's a psychotic, fearless, chain-smoking hero, but every time he hops off a bike he breaks something.)

When Honda signed up Carlos Checa for the Ten Kate WSBK team, a lot of people reckoned it was because Carlos was a safe pair of hands that they wanted to win the Suzuka endurance race. It looks like they were vindicated. Carlos has had an up and down year in World Supers (the story of his life, and his paddock conquests) but now he has won the 8 hour, he'll be untouchable in the Honda organization. Now we know that whatever he and Kiyo do, they'll be in that team again next year.

What this means is that there will be some kind of battle between two Ten Kate kids, Keenan "Superglu" Sofuoglu, and Johnny Rea. Superglu won the World Supersport title at a canter last year, while Johnny Rea just won his first WSS race at Brno. Supposedly, JR has a 3 year contract with Ten Kate including one year of WSS and 2 of WSBK. Now there looks like being just one seat for either him or Superglu, who has had a rubbish year in World Supers and also tragically lost his brother in a Turkish motorcycle race.

The Turk or the Ulsterman? Maybe Superglu will get punted to another Honda team, like Roby Rolfo was, to learn the superbike trade. Johnny Rea is already proven on the big bikes, having won a few British Superbike races, and the Suzuka 300K (or whatever it was) with Kiyo as a team-mate. We'll have to wait and see how it pans out.


Nicebloke said...

Damn Jimmy, your insight is scary good!

Jimmy said...

And they say alcohol kills brain cells.