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August 10th, 2022

Suzuka 8 Hours: Crashing in the early stages in team’s first race

On August 5-7, Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing participated for the first time in the 43rd Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race of the 2022 FIM EWC (Endurance World Championship), held at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan.
On August 7 race day, the race started as scheduled at 11:30 am in Le Mans style for the first time in three years. Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing started from 7th with Kosuke Sakumoto as the initial rider. While he caught up with the top group on the second lap, on the approach to Spoon Curve he crashed and damaged the bike. After the team's swift yet challenging repair work, the team re-entered 50 laps behind the leader. Team riders Kazuma Watanabe and Taiga Hada lapped the course smoothly and took the checkered flag in 37th at 7:30pm.

■Team Comments
- Director Shinichi Ito
Up until the qualifying round, we were in a position to aim for the podium, and we felt the race would allow the team and riders to fully demonstrate their potential. Hence we appointed Kosuke Sakumoto as our starting rider, as we wanted to nurture young riders and send them out into the world. Although Sakumoto lived up to our expectations, he crashed early in the race, which was a disappointing result. We weren’t able to demonstrate the team's potential, but as the All Japan Road Race Championship enters the second half of the season, we will steadily build on our abilities and look forward to our redemption next year. Thank you very much for your support.

- Rider Kazuma Watanabe
I am disappointed I couldn’t complete the 8-hour race because of the crash in the early stages of the race. However, the team restored the machine to near-perfect condition, and I did my best in the remaining races to live up to everyone’s expectations. I can only repay the disappointment of the 8 Hours race with a podium finish in the next year's race, and I will continue to improve my performance, one-by-one.

- Rider Kosuke Sakumoto
The team was making good progress for the race, and I had high expectations for the race as a rider. I was entrusted to be the starting rider, and was determined to live up to the expectations. However, on the second lap, I crashed by getting caught up with another machine and ended the race. I am determined to get back on the podium again next year.

- Rider Taiga Hada
First of all, I am grateful to have been able to run in the 8 Hours. Although I was disappointed with the result, I was able to finish the race in the role I was entrusted with, and was also able to enjoy the race and give it my all. I am disappointed, but this is racing, and I will make the most of this experience in the next race.