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Practice report
Super Formula Suzuka II

Suzuka Super Formula: Nojiri leads Miyata in practice

Reigning Super Formula champion Tomoki Nojiri topped the sole practice session ahead of this weekend's final round of the season at Suzuka, beating points leader Ritomo Miyata by two tenths.

Tomoki Nojiri, TEAM MUGEN

Team Mugen driver Nojiri set a best lap of 1m38.895s in the closing moments of Friday afternoon's 90-minute session, which was the only running ahead of qualifying for the first of two races at Suzuka on Saturday morning.

That was enough for Nojiri, who has to make up a 10-point deficit to TOM'S man Miyata, to top the session by 0.230 seconds amid a flurry of late improvements on new tyres late on.

Just prior to the session, Nojiri had spoken of the desire to use Friday's running to put pressure on his title rivals Miyata and Liam Lawson, as he aims to earn a historic third consecutive title this weekend.

"If you're fast in practice, you can apply pressure on your rivals, and if you have some margin, you don't have to show your hand to them. These kinds of tactics are important in a short race week."

Behind Miyata, Inging's Sho Tsuboi was third-fastest, 0.287s off the pace, while Lawson was fourth, just a further seven thousandths back as he reacclimatised to Super Formula machinery following his five-race Formula 1 spell for AlphaTauri.

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Rookie Kakunoshin Ota was an impressive fifth for Dandelion Racing ahead of Kondo Racing's Kenta Yamashita and the second Inging car of Sena Sakaguchi.

Hiroki Otsu, standing in for an injured Naoki Yamamoto this weekend, was the lead Nakajima Racing car in eighth, one place ahead of his team-mate Ren Sato.

TGM Grand Prix newcomer Riki Okusa, who was announced only on Wednesday as Toshiki Oyu's replacement for the Suzuka weekend, was a creditable 17th-fastest in his first Super Formula outing, 1.121s off the pace.

 

That put the youngster ahead of several other runners, including team-mate Cem Bolukbasi, who was 20th in the sister TGM car.

The session was interrupted early on by two red flag periods. The first followed a high-speed crash for Kazuto Kotaka at Turn 2, with the Kondo driver not re-appearing for the rest of the session. The second stoppage was caused by debris.

Qualifying for the penultimate round of the Super Formula season takes place at 9.30am local time on Saturday, with the 31-lap race following later in the day at 2.30pm.

Suzuka Super Formula - practice results:

     
Driver Info
 
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Japan T. Nojiri Team Mugen 1 22

1'38.895

211.387
2 Japan R. Miyata Vantelin Team TOM'S 37 21

+0.230

1'39.125

0.230 210.897
3 Japan S. Tsuboi P.MU/CERUMO・INGING 38 21

+0.287

1'39.182

0.057 210.776
4 New Zealand L. Lawson Team Mugen 15 24

+0.294

1'39.189

0.007 210.761
5 Japan K. Ohta Dandelion Racing 6 28

+0.328

1'39.223

0.034 210.689
6 Japan K. Yamashita Kondo Racing 3 26

+0.404

1'39.299

0.076 210.527
7 Japan S. Sakaguchi P.MU/CERUMO・INGING 39 21

+0.418

1'39.313

0.014 210.498
8 Japan H. Otsu TCS Nakajima Racing 64 25

+0.523

1'39.418

0.105 210.275
9 Japan R. Sato TCS Nakajima Racing 65 27

+0.534

1'39.429

0.011 210.252
10 Japan T. Makino Dandelion Racing 5 22

+0.539

1'39.434

0.005 210.241
11 Japan N. Fukuzumi ThreeBond Racing 12 21

+0.541

1'39.436

0.002 210.237
12 Japan N. Matsushita B-Max Racing Team 50 24

+0.613

1'39.508

0.072 210.085
13 Japan Y. Sekiguchi ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL 19 17

+0.696

1'39.591

0.083 209.910
14 Japan Y. Kunimoto Team KCMG 18 23

+0.781

1'39.676

0.085 209.731
15 Japan K. Oshima docomo business ROOKIE 14 26

+0.890

1'39.785

0.109 209.502
16 Japan R. Hirakawa ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL 20 19

+1.031

1'39.926

0.141 209.206
17
R. Okusa TGM Grand Prix
53 26

+1.121

1'40.016

0.090 209.018
18 Japan U. Sasahara Vantelin Team TOM'S 36 21

+1.299

1'40.194

0.178 208.647
19 Japan K. Kobayashi Team KCMG 7 20

+1.483

1'40.378

0.184 208.264
20 Turkey C. Bolukbasi TGM Grand Prix 55 23

+1.610

1'40.505

0.127 208.001
21 United Kingdom R. Hyman B-Max Racing Team 51 18

+4.287

1'43.182

2.677 202.605
22 Japan K. Kotaka Kondo Racing 4 5

+9.761

1'48.656

5.474 192.398

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