This year's Suzuka 8 hour is going to be and even more exiting affair as it will see a contingent of MotoGP racers entering the paddock to race at the endurance race. Just a few days ago it was declared that the Legendary MotoGP rider, Casey Stoner will be racing at the Suzuka 8-Hour along with Michael van der Mark for the Honda team, and now to challenge him, the MotoGP Satellite Yamaha team Monster Tech 3 has announced that both of its team riders, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will be race at the prestigious Suzuka 8 hour endurance race as well. Smith and Pol will race alongside Yamaha Test Rider and Japanese Superbike champion Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
Earlier there were rumours that Yamaha is serious about their entry at the endurance race, and there were even reports that Yamaha was considering having Rossi and Lorenzo to race at Suzuka, however, both riders have clarified that they have not been told anything like this thus far regarding the race. Moreover, having both of its Factory riders riding at Suzuka would have been a massively tough exercise since the Suzuka race will be held directly in between the Sachsenring and Indianapolis MotoGP rounds.
Also, with Yamaha's current position in the championship in which Valentino is heading the championship followed by Lorenzo in second, Yamaha clearly wouldnt want to risk its riders at such a time and has decided on an alternative strategy of using the riders from the satellite teams instead. Interestingly, Rossi has been testing the new Yamaha R1 in endurance trim at the Misano circuit on several occasions in recent months. Whether this is part of preparations for Suzuka is unknown, as those tests have been private.
The choice of Smith and Espargaro may also be a chance for Yamaha to assess the commitment of the Tech 3 pairing. Both men are in the final year of their contract, Smith on a one-year deal directly with Tech 3, Espargaro in the final year of a two-year contract directly with Yamaha.
So far this year, Smith has outperformed his teammate, leading Espargaro by 11 points in the championship. Winning the race for Yamaha would be a major boost for their chances of staying at the Tech 3 team, as the Japanese factory has not won there for 19 years, when Colin Edwards teamed up with Nori Haga.