Previous Australian MotpGP champion Casey Stoner suffered broken right shoulder blade and left tibia after missing a corner with the throttle stuck open only 5 laps into the Suzuka 8 hours in Japan
Casey Stoner made his much anticipated return to motorcycle racing, quickly making up positions and was leading the race at the time he crashed out.
Here’s a video of the race start and Casey Stoner crash.
On a more positive note, congratulations to Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro who pushed hard to claim the Suzuka 8 Hour Victory.
He’re a more in depth report on the race by MotoGP:
On their return to the Suzuka 8 Hour as a factory effort, Yamaha claimed pole position with a 2’06.000 from Pol Espargaro. This incredible lap set a new record time around the iconic Japanese track as both he and teammate Katsuyuki Nakasuga set times faster than all other riders in the qualifying shootout. The majority of the MotoGP™ riders participating in the Suzuka 8 Hour made it to the top ten final qualifying shootout, many setting times within just a few tenths of their highly experienced Japanese teammates.
A race filled with six safety cars saw the Yamaha Factory team come out on top at the end of the 8 hours, completing 204 laps. This is Yamaha’s first win at the legendary Japanese endurance race since 1996 when Noriyuki Haga and Colin Edwards won. Bradley Smith was given the honour of ending the race on the bike, the team’s reactions on the podium demonstrating exactly how important the race is.
The 2015 edition of the Suzuka 8 Hour got off to a dramatic start with all the major teams starting well, apart from the Yamaha Factory Team who struggled to get the bike started. Many of the big names battled for the early lead with Alex Lowes on the Yoshimura Suzuki leading as riders begun to end their first stints.
Takumi Takahashi brought the #634 MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda into the pits and Casey Stoner made his much anticipated return to motorcycle racing, quickly making up positions. His return was short lived as the double MotoGP™ champion fell at the Hairpin Corner after his throttle stuck open, resulting in a massive bike-destroying crash that brought out the safety car. Stoner had completed five laps of his stint and was stretchered off, sustaining a broken right shoulder blade and left tibia.
As the safety car returned to the pits Bradley Smith and Australian Josh Hook, on the F.C.C TSR Honda, began a heated battle for the lead. Smith proved himself a quick learner as he adapted to the unique challenges of an endurance race such as the safety car and passing multiple backmarkers, some up to ten seconds a lap slower.
From here the race settled for the remaining six hours with the Factory Yamaha squad battling with F.C.C TSR Honda for the overall lead, although Yoshimura Suzuki remained within stiking distance. Espargaro would lead unchallenged as he set a stream of 2’09s during his first stint and built the lead for his team before a third safety car that saw Espargaro’s lead reduced from over 20 seconds to just two.
Smith was awarded a 30 second stop and go penalty for a teammate overtaking under yellow flags mid-race, demoting the team to second and promoting F.C.C TSR and Dominique Aegerter to first. This lead did not last as Smith quickly caught his former Moto2™ competitor and passed him. The two teams swapped positions occasionally around pit stops but Yamaha came out on top at the end, clearly having the fastest pace throughout the race.