1. Yamaha’s first win in almost 20 years


Yamaha last won the Suzuka 8 Hours race with Colin Edwards and Noriyuki Haga in 1996. In the 19 years since, Honda has dominated, winning 16 times. Yamaha is placing a lot of stock in its most important flagship bike in several years, the new R1, and instead of just writing about its attributes in marketing brochures and advertising, the Tuning Fork brand felt it was time to put its money where its mouth is. Rest assured, there was a lot riding on the shoulders of Bradley Smith, Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Pol Espargaro for these eight hours, as nothing short of a victory would suffice. But the fact Yamaha brought a factory effort, recruited two of its MotoGP stars and a five-time and current All Japan Superbike Champion, means Team Blue were serious about doing everything it could to win. How that translates into global sales is yet to be seen, but bragging rights among the OEMs is a nice feather to have in your cap.