Nagashima’s 2min 4.936 lap gives Honda first…

The free practice session was halted immediately after it began, and once restarted, #33 Team HRC (Tetsuta Nagashima / Takumi Takahashi / Iker Lecuona) rider Lecuona and another rider came in contact at the first turn, sending him off track and back into the pits. Soon after, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) slid off at the motorcycle chicane, bringing the session to a halt once again. On the second restart, Nagashima (#33) enters the track, but 5 FCC TSR Honda France (Josh Hook / Gino Rea / Mike Di Meglio) rider Gino Rea crashed at the chicane and was airlifted to hospital. Updates on his condition will be communicated as appropriate.

The ten fastest qualifying teams proceeded to the Top 10 Trial shootout to determine the final grid places, where two riders from each team get one lap each to set their lap times. Going into the Top 10 Trial, 33 Team HRC was first, 17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing (Kosuke Sakumoto / Kazuma Watanabe / Taiga Hada) fourth, 5 FCC TSR Honda France fifth, 72 Honda Dream RT SAKURAI HONDA (Sodo Hamahara / Daijiro Hiura / Yuki Kunii) seventh, and 25 Honda Sofukai Suzuka Racing Team (Yudai Kamei / Yuki Sugiyama / Jun Tadokoro) was ninth. Each team chose their two riders for the Top 10 Trial.

Just before the Top 10 Trial was to commence, the organizers changed the Top 10 Trial to a 40-minute Top 10 timed qualifier beginning at 4pm due to weather concerns. Any team rider could ride within this session, and the fastest laps would determine the final grid. The air temperature was 28℃ and track temperature 36℃. Nagashima (#33) was on the track as soon as the session started.

On his second lap, Nagashima set a 2 min 4.936s lap to take the provisional lead, and pits. Lecuona (#33) takes over the bike and is on the track. As Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) closes in on the lead with a 2 min 5.413s lap, Lecuona sets a 2 min 6 lap and pits. Takahashi (#33) then takes over the bike, and also sets a 2 min 6s lap.

Later in the session, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) on new tires sets a 2 min 5.148 s lap, but cannot better Nagashima, and has to settle for second grid. #7 Yat-Yamaha Official Team EWC was third with 2 min 5.768 s, followed by Hook with 2 min 6.204 s. In fifth place was 73 SDG Honda Racing, and despite Hamahara attempting a hot lap as the session ended, 5 FCC TSR Honda France qualified sixth. 17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing was seventh, and 25 Honda Sofukai Suzuka Racing eighth.

Team HRC’s pole position gave Honda its first Suzuka 8 Hours pole since 2009.

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