A last hour trouble denies Satu HATI. Honda Team Asia of a top 10 finish
The 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship Series Round 2-The 38th “Coca-Cola Zero” Suzuka 8hours FIM Endurance World Championship took place on sunny and hot Suzuka Circuit on July 26th.
#22 Satu HATI. Honda Team Asia, in its 4th year at the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours race, lined up Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman of Malaysia, Dimas Ekky Pratama of Indonesia, and Ratthapong Wilairot of Thailand to make the team an “All-Asian” all-star steam. Former MotoGP winner, Makoto Tamada, spearheaded the team as Team Manager.
Dimas started the race and without any major trouble, the 3 riders continue to move up the field and positions themselves in the top 10 most part of the 8 Hour Race. Tamada strategically changed plans during the race, considering the riders condition and the race.
The safety car was deployed 6 times during the race, and this drastically worked for the team, allowing a 7 pitstop strategy, rather than the originally planned 8 pitstops. This would mean more burden physically for the riders, but the riders made steady laps.
By the last hour, Tamada was looking toward a top 5 finish. But an incident occured at the last pitstop. The headlight that is obligatory to turn on when the sun sets, did not turn on. The mechanics worked hard to fix the problem, however, by the team the team sent out the machine back, the position dropped from 7th to 20th. Azlan, pushed in the dark, as much as possible, but bringing it back to 18th was the best he could do.
Makoto Tamada | Team Manager
Everything went smoothly as planned until the final hour, and I was quite confident that we could finish in the top 5. But the lights didn’t turn on. It was a simple mis-connection, but fixing it made us lose precious time. This is one race that reminded how difficult an endurance race is. I just feel sorry for the riders that they had to drop their positions because of this mistake, and I sincerely apologize to them. Personally, I was happy to have former teammate Azlan back on the team, and I was able to witness how much he improved as a rider. I was very happy when he told me that this was one of the best team he has ever ridden for.
Personnally, this is my second year as team manager, and this experience has changed my view on racing. I feel much more gutted when the the team could not make the results, than I was a rider. The feeling I had of not being able to unite the team was something I did not feel when I was a rider.
I sincerely thank the sponsors, and I apologize for not being able to achieve the results expected.
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman | 1st Rider
I was called to the team last minute, but I thank Honda Team Asia for inviting me to race with them. I was happy that I was back on the CBR1000RR again. We had some mishaps, but everyone in the team worked hard, and I enjoyed it every much. This was my best race I did this year. I wish to come back again next year.
Dimas Ekky Pratama | 2nd Rider
First of all, I would like to thank Honda, Honda Team Asia, and Astra Honda for giving me this opportunity. I am gutted that we had to drop postion because of the headlights while running 7th, but I would like to come back next year with a higher motivation.
Ratthapong Wilairot | 3rd Rider
I would like to thank Honda Team Asia and AP Honda for giving me this chance to race at Suzuka. I would also like to thank Team manager Tamada, Advisor (Chojun) Kameya, and mechanics for making a perfect bike for us to race in. This was my first time to race at the Suzuka 8 Hours, but it was so amazing! I learned that it is important that the team and the rider works in unity. I also learned that it is important that the riders are in the best physical condition and need to keep constant laps to achieve good results. It was a difficult thing to do, but it was a lot of fun! We couldn’t have done it without my teammates, and all the staff at Honda Team Asia. Thank you, Satu HATI.! We are ONE HEART!