Team Mugen Honda’s Tomoki Nojiri’s quick time in the early hours was enough to hand him the top position due to the mixed conditions on final Super Formula rookie test day at Suzuka.
The rain threat loomed all-day long and it eventually started to drizzle at around 10 AM local time which then not only limited the running but also lap times did not improve with Nojiri’s best of 1m37.297s was enough to keep him on top.
Team Impul Toyota’s Yuhi Sekiguchi was second with a 1m37.329s lap as Team KCMG Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi rounded the Top 3 with a 1m37.398s lap. It was closely bunched together with the Top 11 within Nojiri’s time from the first session.
Nakajima Racing Honda’s Alex Palou (1m37.451s) did well again to be fourth with Ryo Hirakawa (1m37.462s) making it two Team Impul Toyota’s in the Top 5. There were three red flags interruptions in the first session.
The early one came for Inging Toyota’s Sho Tsuboi when he spun which was followed by a late crash for Nakajima Racing Honda’s Tadasuke Makino and an off-track excursion for Team Tom’s Toyota’s Kazuki Nakajima.
Dandelion Honda’s Nirei Fukuzumi (1m37.548s), meanwhile, slotted in sixth from Inging Toyota’s Hiroaki Ishiura (1m37.633s), Tsuboi (1m37.699s), Nakajima (1m37.841s) and Team Tom’s Toyota’s Nick Cassidy (1m38.135s) in the Top 10.
The newly announced Team Mugen Honda driver Dan Ticktum (1m38.188s) finished 11th with Kondo Racing Toyota’s Yuji Kunimoto (1m38.714s) in 12th – first driver in the list to set his best time in the day’s second session.
Behind Kunimoto in 13th was B-Max Racing Team Honda’s Harrison Newey (1m38.926s) with Kondo Racing Toyota’s Ralf Aron (1m39.180s) behind him, followed by Team LeMans Toyota’s Charles Milesi (1m39.212s) and Makino (1m39.297s).
Real Racing Honda’s Tristan Charpentier (1m40.216s) had a trouble-free run after crash on Day 1 to be 17th with Lucas Auer (1m40.423s) in 18th – the new Red Bull junior to be confirmed with B-Max Racing Team Honda.
Auer was the second driver in the list to set his quick time in the second session. Team LeMans Toyota’s Arjun Maini (1m40.779s) finished 19th ahead of Dandelion Racing Honda’s Naoki Yamamoto (1m41.250s).
More to come