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Highly-charged finale on the cards at Suzuka

Highly-charged finale on the cards at Suzuka

27/06/2017 at 18:28Updated 27/06/2017 at 18:29

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The Suzuka 8 Hours promises to be a suspenseful season finale. The just-concluded 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring has shrunk the gaps between the FIM EWC 2016-2017 standings leaders. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team now has a mere one-point lead over GMT94 Yamaha. And YART Yamaha Official EWC Team is still very much in the running for the title.

A legendary race; the heat and humidity; the array of factory bikes on track – the Suzuka 8 Hours is always a highlight of the FIM EWC season. And this year, the suspense in the lead-up to an FIM EWC final is higher than it’s ever been. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and GMT94 Yamaha will start the 2016-2017 FIM EWC final round – the 40th anniversary of the Suzuka 8 Hours at the end of July – with just one point separating them in the provisional standings of the FIM EWC 2016-2017 championship.

GMT94 Yamaha won the 1st edition of the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring this past Saturday, but Suzuki Endurance Racing Team leveraged its experience to finish second in Slovakia and thus hold on to top place in the 2016-2017 provisional standings. For reigning champion Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, getting back on the podium for the first time since the death of Anthony Delhalle was an emotionally charged moment.

At the Suzuka 8 Hours, the number of points up for grabs is 150% higher than usual: the winner gets 45 points, the runner-up 36, the second runner-up 31.5, and so on (see the Suzuka 8 Hours scoring table). So all eyes will be glued to the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team versus GMT94 Yamaha duel, even as the Japanese factory teams join the fray to battle for the win.

YART still in the running
The points-scoring system specific to the Suzuka 8 Hours also gives YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, currently third in the championship standings, a stab at the world title. If Suzuki Endurance Racing Team or GMT94 Yamaha make a misstep, a 4th-place finish in the race would suffice for the Austrian Yamaha team to walk off with the world title.

So the 2016-2017 FIM EWC final round – the 40th anniversary of the Suzuka 8 Hours – is a crucial race. Don’t miss out on this thrilling final, to be held in Japan on Sunday 30 July.

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