Nojiri leads Miyata in practice

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.

This remarkable achievement allowed Nojiri to claim the top spot in the session, leaving his rivals in awe. His lap time was 0.230 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, TOM’S man Miyata, amidst a flurry of late improvements on new tires.

Prior to the session, Nojiri expressed his intention to use Friday’s running to put pressure on his title competitors Miyata and Lawson, as he pursues a historic third consecutive title this weekend.

Nojiri stated, “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 finished in third place, 0.287s off the pace, while Lawson came in fourth, just seven thousandths of a second behind Tsuboi. Lawson is readjusting to Super Formula machinery after participating in five Formula 1 races for AlphaTauri.

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Rookie Kakunoshin Ota impressed with a fifth-place finish for Dandelion Racing, ahead of Kondo Racing’s Kenta Yamashita and Inging’s Sena Sakaguchi in the second Inging car.

Hiroki Otsu, substituting for the injured Naoki Yamamoto, took the eighth position, leading the Nakajima Racing team. Otsu’s teammate Ren Sato finished just behind him in ninth place.

Riki Okusa, a newcomer to the TGM Grand Prix, delivered a commendable performance in his first Super Formula outing, finishing 17th-fastest and 1.121 seconds behind the leader. Okusa replaced Toshiki Oyu for the Suzuka weekend. Okusa even outperformed his teammate Cem Bolukbasi, who finished 20th in the sister TGM car.

The session experienced two red flag periods, with the first caused by a high-speed crash involving Kazuto Kotaka at Turn 2. The Kondo driver did not return for the rest of the session. The second stoppage occurred due to debris.

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

Suzuka Super Formula – practice results:


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