PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman will represent Team Asia with two other Japanese professional motorcycle riders in the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance road race championships in Suzuka, Japan, in July.
The Petronas AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship rider will be the first local to compete in the 8-Hour Endurance race at the Suzuka Circuit from July 26-29.
Azlan, who leads the CP130 standings, will represent Honda Team Asia partnering former MotoGP and WSBK rider Makoto Tamada as well as veteran Chosun Kameya.
The 28-year-old Azlan said it was an honour to represent the Asia Road Racing Championship contingent in the Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance road race for the second time after competing in the 4-hour category last year.
“I am thrilled to bits,” said Azlan, who will be racing on 1000cc machines compared to the 600cc bikes last season. “I have ridden on the 1000cc bikes before. But I am more concerned about toning down my aggression to suit the endurance racing style. Consistent pace is a critical factor here as we want to reduce tyre wear.”
Azlan’s team-mate in the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC), Ryuichi Kiyonari, will also be competing in the Suzuka race. Kiyonari, who is on a winning streak at the Suzuka 8-Hour race, will team up with former WGP GP250 champion Hiroshi Aoyama and Japan Superbike Championship rider Takumi Takahashi.
Kiyonari will represent Musashi Racing Team Harc-Pro, the team who had helped him win the same race in 2010. Kiyonari will be gunning for his third consecutive win.
Meanwhile, team Musashi Boon Siew Honda Racing Malaysia will continue their participation in the 4-hour category for the second year. Mohd Emir Firdaus Hasan, who won last year’s 4-hour category alongside Azlan Shah, will stay on in this class with rookie rider Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi joining him.