During an official three-day test this week, the 27-year-old Superbike rider has collected many positive impressions for his debut in the endurance classic in Japan.
After last weekend’s US Superbike round, Stefan Bradl has travelled immediately from California to Japan where from Tuesday to Thursday a final three-day testing was scheduled for this year’s edition of the legendary «Suzuka 8hours». Bradl, however, was because of the tight arrival only the last two days in action with his F.C.C. TSR Honda Team. But the experienced rider mastered quickly many unknown things such as missing track experience as well as the move from Pirelli to Bridgestone tyres and some more other different aspects. In addition, Bradl’s Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, as he is racing with in Superbike World Championship, and the Fireblade for the Suzuka race have not much in common. But with the conclusion of the test, the former Moto2™ Champion feels well prepared to perform at highest level during the last weekend in July. By the way, Bradl will race together with Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter and Frenchman Randy de Puniet in the factory-assisted Japanese team.
The «Suzuka 8hours» has been a fixed date in the calendar of the FIM Endurance World Championship for many years. With the venue at the Suzuka Circuit, just around the corner of all the famous Japanese manufacturers, this event is of particular importance of two wheels racing. This year, the eight hours are set to celebrates its 40th anniversary too.
“From my point of view, it was a very interesting test in Suzuka even though coming straight from California and a hasty return trip to Europe, it was a quite stressful week. In any case, it was a great experience for me to get known to the Suzuka Circuit as well as to see how things are going for this event for the first time. Overall, I’m satisfied with my performance during these two days. Towards the end of the second day, we made changes to the bike which allowed me to set much faster lap times. But honestly speaking, it took a certain number of laps to find the way around this unknown track and on the other hand to cope with that many riders on track at the same time. In addition, the change to different tyres compared to that ones we are using in the Superbike series as well as the bike itself is very different from my Fireblade. So, this means that these two days were filled with lots of work in hot and humidity conditions which made it all together enormously demanding too. But, in the end the results were very positive and I think that I’m well prepared for my first eight-hour race in Suzuka.”