World Superbike rider Jonathan Rea was denied the chance of another famous Suzuka 8-Hours victory for the second year in succession in Japan on Sunday.
Rea’s FCC TSR Honda team-mate, Kosuke Akiyoshi, crashed while holding a healthy lead in the wet in a race that saw the safety car deployed four times due to incidents in the tricky conditions on track.
A dejected Rea said: “It’s difficult to know what to say apart from how disappointing this is. Akiyoshi did an amazing job to get the bike back to the pits and that allowed us to get out again but we knew there wasn’t much we could do.
“But, as I said earlier, you win if you can, lose if you must, but you never quit.”
The race had been delayed by one hour due to a rain storm and more showers fell throughout the prestigious endurance meeting.
Akiyoshi fractured his femur in the crash but managed to make it back to the pits and the team repaired the Fireblade and drafted in standby rider Lorenzo Zanetti who, along with Rea, completed the race, eventually finishing in 40th position.
Rea’s Pata Honda World Superbike team-mate, Leon Haslam, plus World Supersport rider Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi clinched victory with the MuSashi Harc-Pro Honda team for the second year in succession.