This just in from the FIM:
The Endurance world gears up for the Suzuka 8 Hours 63 crews will line up in Japan on 28 July
The 36th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours, second round of the FIM Endurance World Championship, will certainly live up to its reputation as an exceptional event. Every year, this race attracts not only the world's best teams but also the best international riders. At the end of July, alongside the best of the Japanese two-wheel warriors, we shall be able to admire performances on the track by 1993 FIM World 500cc Champion Kevin Schwantz, now 48 years old, Josh Hook, just 20 years old and a rising star in the Australian Superbike firmament, and the promising world Supersport rider from the Netherlands Michael van der Mark. Kevin Schwantz is familiar with Suzuka as he took part in the event six times between 1985 and 1992, with his best result a second place. He will be riding the Suzuki of Team Kagayama with Yukio Kagayama, former mainstay of the Team Yoshimura Suzuki, and Noriyuki Haga. Josh Hook will be teaming up with fellow Australian Jamie Stauffer on the Honda Dream RT Sakurai, which regularly fights it out at the front of the race. Michael van der Mark will be taking turns with Takumi Takahashi and Leon Haslam on the powerful Honda of Musashi RT Harc-Pro.
These crews will be in the limelight along with the many favourites tipped to win. The FCC TSR Honda will top the list with two consecutive wins at the Suzuka 8 Hours. The Honda #11 will be put through its paces by Jonathan Rea and Ryuichi Kiyonari, as Kosuke Akiyoshi is out of action with a broken leg. Also wearing the Honda colours, the Toho Racing with Moriwaki, 2nd in the 2012 edition, will be one to watch with Tatsuya Yamaguchi, this time teamed up with Shinichi Ito, a safe pair of hands in their bid for a Suzuka podium. The Honda armada will be facing its toughest opposition from the Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team. Forced to drop out last year, the 2009 winner regularly takes the fight to the frontrunners and will be chasing the 2013 winner's spot with Takuya Tsuda, Joshua Brookes and Nobuatsu Aoki. The leading Kawasaki of Eva RT Trick Star with Tamaki Serizawa, Osamu Deguchi and Hitoyasu Izutsu will also be a strong contender this year.
The nine permanent teams lining up in Suzuka at the end of July will therefore have a fight on their hands, but the podium is within reach, as proved last year by the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube with a superb third place. They are back this year with David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive. We can also expect good performances from the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team with Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Julien Da Costa, the Monster Energy Yamaha YART with Katsuyuki Nakasuga (pole position in 2012) back to support Broc Parkes and Joshua Waters, and also the BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent (Sylvain Barrier, Damian Cudlin and Erwan Nigon) and, last but not least, the Honda TT Legends (Simon Andrews, Michael Rutter and John McGuinness) who will be trying to make up ground after a difficult Bol d'Or.
As in 2012, Bolliger Team Switzerland (Kawasaki), Team R2CL (Suzuki) and Flembbo Leader Team (Kawasaki) will be riding in Japan this July while Motobox Kremer by Shell Advance (Suzuki) is making its Suzuka début.