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Suzuka Eight-Hours: Confidence high for reigning champ Rea

Last year's Suzuka Eight-Hours winner Jonathan Rea returns to the scene of his historic 2012 victory on a confidence high after equalling his best laps in the first round of testing.

Last year, Rea became the first British rider to win the event in its 33-year history and joined names such as Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner and three-time winner Ryuichi Kiyonari, who will be the Ulsterman's team-mate this time around.

“I tested recently and even on the first afternoon we were as fast as last year. The team has been held back a little by Akiyoshi-san’s leg injury but Kiyonari-san has definitely stepped up to the plate. He has been riding really well. We have a really good compromise on our bike settings, so it should be good," said Rea.


"The bike’s character is completely different with Bridgestone tyres compared to the bike I ride in SBK. With the engine leaned off for fuel consumption, it feels like a very balanced and stable Superstock bike … very stable. This race is a huge part of my year, and I have more tools in the bag this time from my experience. You have to conserve energy, and go with the flow. The goal is to win again."

Kiyonari added: “I knew Jonathan from his BSB years. He was a fast rider back then, and now he is one of the world’s top class riders. It means I have confidence in him and know I can rely on him. It would have been reassuring if Akiyoshi was able to race with us. We consider him as a team mate and he will be with the team. We, together, will do everything possible to win the race.”

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