Suzuka Track Facts

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Uniquely, Suzuka is neither a clockwise nor an counter-clockwise circuit. Itis a figure eight, with the track leading from the Degner Curves (namedin honor of a famous former Suzuki world champion) through an underpassbeneath the main straight.

It has many other special features in its3.644 miles (5.864 km) length, including a tricky first-gear hairpin andanother slow chicane, and the fearsome 130R corner at the end of the longmain straight, taken at close to top speed. There are also thedistinctive Esses, and the difficult Dunlop curve, where the bikes golight over the brow of a hill while at maximum lean angle and full power...

- typical of the technical challenges to machine and rider that makevictory at Suzuka especially highly prized. For this year the sharpright-hand corner after the Esses has been reprofiled, and more run-offarea found at parts of the track criticised for a lack of safety.

ABOUT THIS RACE:

The first Japanese GP was at Suzuka in 1963, starting a series that ranfor five years, moving to Fuji for the last two. Those racers were forthe smaller classes. The 500s raced in Japan for the first time in 1987,back at Suzuka, which has been the home of the race ever since, exceptfor a one-year break in 1999, when the race was held at the new Motegicircuit, which since then has hosted the Pacific GP to give Japan asecond race.

The atmospheric track and the presence of senior Japaneseindustry figures give the Suzuka race a special feeling and significance.Suzuki has claimed five victories at Suzuka, four going to Suzuka masterKevin Schwantz; while new rider Kenny Roberts Junior also won the singleJapanese GP at Motegi race in 1999. This gives the marque six home GPwins - more than any other machine.

GP DATA:

Suzuka CircuitCircuit Length: 3.644 miles (5.864 km)Lap Record: 2:06.746 - 103.494 mph / 166.557 km/h. M Biaggi (Honda), 19982000 Race Winner: N Abe (Yamaha) - 46:16.657, 101.398 mph, 163.185 km/h2000 Pole Position: KENNY ROBERTS (Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki) - 2:06.679
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Brent Avis
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