The star of the show was undoubtedly Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who posted the only sub 2'06s lap in the first of his two 20-minute qualifying outings. Nakasuga's time of 2'05.922 was his fastest ever lap of the 5.821km Suzuka circuit aboard the endurance specification Yamaha YZF-R1 and the fastest of any rider so far this weekend.
Equally strong qualifying performances from Nakasuga's two teammates, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, saw the Yamaha Factory Racing Team claim provisional pole position with an advantage of just 0.014s once the times had been combined. Lowes was unfortunate to suffer a crash in Q1, but he was uninjured in what was only a minor tumble.
Niccolò Canepa led the way for the YART Yamaha EWC squad today, with a time of 2'06.672 in Q1 securing him second place on the timesheet when the results of his two qualifying sessions were combined. Broc Parkes also posted his fastest lap of the day in Q1, while Marvin Fritz improved by half a second in Q2 to stop the clock with a time of 2'07.167, despite the disruption of a red flag shortly after the start of the session. These performances combined meant that the YART Yamaha team was the highest placed of the regular EWC teams in sixth place.
Both teams will face the Top 10 Trial tomorrow, in which the final grid positions for Sunday's Suzuka 8 Hour race will be decided. However, with the outer edge of a typhoon expected to hit the circuit overnight, wet conditions could well lead to a change in format for the Top 10 Trial, as similar conditions did 12 months ago.