Suzuka Circuit – Japan
Since its creation in 1962, the Suzuka circuit has hosted many international competitions including the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Motorbike GP and the Motorbike Endurance World Championship. This circuit is one of the few tracks to offer an 8hr race over 5.821 km.
The first edition of Suzuka 8 Hours was contested in July 1978. Suzuka 8 Hours is the motorcycle endurance test which has attracted the most riders in Motorbike GP. Mike Baldwin won the 1st edition with Wes Cooley. Among the other winners of the Suzuka 8 Hours: Graeme Crosby (1980), Hervé Moineau (1983), Wayne Gardner (1985,’86, ’91 and ’92), Dominique Sarron (1989), Kevin Magee (1988), Wayne Rainey (1988), Eddie Lawson (1990), Mick Doohan (1991), Daryl Beattie (1992), Scott Russell (1993), Tadayuki Okada (1995), Noriyuki Haga (1996), Shinichi Ito (1997,1998, 2006 and 2011) and Valentino Rossi (2001). Dajiro Kato, already a winner in 2000, was the last Grand Prix rider to step up to the plate in 2002. In 2015, the Motorbike GP riders made a return winning with the victory of Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith (Yamaha Factory).
Landmark dates of the Suzuka circuit
September 1962: Opening of the Suzuka circuit.
30 July 1978: the 1st edition of Suzuka 8 Hours won by the Americans Wes Cooley and Mike Baldwin (Suzuki Yoshimura)
1 August 1982: 1st Japanese victory at Suzuka with Shigeo Iijima and Shinji Hagiwara (Honda). The race was reduced to 6 h due to a typhoon
1 November 1987: first Formula 1 Grand Prix.