A great line-up expected in Qatar on 9 June
Qatar is hosting the second round of the 2012 FIM Endurance World Championship. The 8 Hours of Doha will take place at the Losail international circuit on Saturday 9 June.
Despite the absence of the SRC Kawasaki, winners of the Bol d’Or in mid-April, we can expect a lively and exciting race, especially as some of the factory teams have brought top Japanese riders into their garages.
The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) has signed up Yukio Kagayama, who kept the crowd on the edge of their seats at the last Suzuka 8 Hour race, to support Vincent Philippe, now healthy again after breaking his collarbone at the Bol d’Or, and Anthony Delhalle. And for good measure, Monster Energy Yamaha YART has given its crew a boost by signing Noriyuki Haga. The Japanese Yamaha rider, who is riding in British Superbike this year, will be joining Igor Jerman and Gwen Giabbani.
While SERT and Monster Energy Yamaha YART will be keen to get the best preparation for the Suzuka 8 Hour race in July, team Honda TT Legends is without key riders who are tied up with the Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man until 8 June. While John McGuinness is trying to clinch a 16th victory in the TT, in Doha the official Honda will be ridden by Ryuichi Kiyonari, winner of the two last editions of the Suzuka 8 Hour race, British Superbike regular Michael Laverty and BSB Superstock 1000 rider Jason O’Halloran. Jason O’Halloran finished 6th at the Suzuka 8 Hours in 2008 but Michael Laverty is an Endurance rookie.
Two other factory garages with victory chances are sticking with their usual rider line-up. Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube, winners of the 2011 Doha 8 Hours 2011, are fielding David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive. And BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent, with Sébastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Damian Cudlin, will be more fired up than ever after a crash forced them out of the Bol d’Or.
In Superstock the ranks of the favourites are closing. Team Penz13 Kraftwerk Herpigny Racing (BMW) is well placed after a podium at the Bol d’Or ahead of Starteam 67 (Suzuki), DG Sport Herock (Yamaha) and Atomic MotoSport (Suzuki). Winners of the 2011 FIM World Cup, Team Motors Events AMT Assurances (Suzuki) will have to play catch up. Also one to watch is the Qatar Endurance Racing Team’s Suzuki in the hands of QMMF Moto2 team-mates Nasser Al Malki, Anthony West and Elena Rosell.
The 8 Hours of Doha will start on Saturday 9 June at 17h00, an hour and a half before the sun sets over Qatar (GMT +3). The first free practice sessions are scheduled for the evening of Thursday 7 June.
You can follow the race with “Live Timing” on FIM-LIVE.COM from 16:30 on Saturday!