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Testing report
Super Formula Suzuka March Testing

Tsuboi stays on top as Super Formula's Suzuka test ends

Sho Tsuboi completed a clean sweep of fastest times in this week's first Super Formula pre-season test at Suzuka as he again set the pace on Tuesday.


The Inging Toyota driver, who caused a surprise by topping the timesheets on Monday, was once again the driver to beat, setting a best time of 1m35.769s during the two-hour morning session.

That was almost exactly three tenths slower than his best time from Monday, with the reduced pace due in part to somewhat higher temperatures on a clear, sunny day at the Japanese Grand Prix venue.

Nakajima Racing's Toshiki Oyu, who paced last December's post-season test at Suzuka, was second-quickest and the only other driver to break into the 1m35s, 0.169s off the pace of Tsuboi.

Yuhi Sekiguchi was third-fastest for defending teams' champion Impul, ahead of Dandelion newcomer Hiroki Otsu, three-time champion Naoki Yamamoto (Nakajima) and the second Impul car of Ryo Hirakawa.

Much like on Monday, the bulk of the best times were set in the morning, with afternoon pacesetter Ritomo Miyata (TOM'S) one of just four drivers of the 21 present to improve in the second session.

Ritomo Miyata, Kuo VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

Ritomo Miyata, Kuo VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Miyata's best time of 1m36.466s put him 0.247s clear of Kondo Racing's Kenta Yamashita, but only seventh overall, with Yamashita eighth on the strength of his morning time.

Nirei Fukuzumi was an encouraging ninth for the minnow Drago Corse squad, while the second TOM'S machine of Giuliano Alesi completed the top 10.

Reigning champion Tomoki Nojiri (Mugen), second on Monday, could only manage the 11th-fastest time on Tuesday, the best part of a second slower than Tsuboi.

Besides Miyata, the only other drivers to improve in the afternoon were Sacha Fenestraz (Kondo), Tadasuke Makino (Dandelion) and Tsuboi's Inging teammate Sena Sakaguchi.

Fenestraz caused the day's first red flag when he went off at the S-curve in the morning, albeit sustaining little to no damage in the impact, which led to five minutes of extra running being added to the session.

Makino was likewise in the wars at the end of that session as he made light contact with Kamui Kobayashi's KCMG car approaching the hairpin, ruining his hot lap and causing his engine to shut off in the process. However, he parked up on the inside of the hairpin, and the session stayed green.

The second and final stoppage came in the afternoon when B-Max Racing's Nobuharu Matsushita spun exiting the hairpin, but he was able to keep the engine running and return to the pits under his own steam once the car had been recovered.

Super Formula Lights also held its first running of the year during the break between the two Super Formula sessions. TOM'S driver and Toyota junior Seita Nonaka set the pace ahead of Honda protege Kakunoshin Ota (Toda Racing) and Hibiki Taira (TOM'S).

Another TOM'S driver, Kazuto Kotaka, is sitting out this week's test following a positive COVID-19 test.

Super Formula Lights testing continues with two more sessions on Wednesday, while the next running for Super Formula takes place at Fuji Speedway on March 22-23.

Suzuka testing times:

Pos. Driver Team/Engine Morning Afternoon
1 Japan Sho Tsuboi Inging/Toyota 1'35.769 1'40.645

Japan Toshiki Oyu

Nakajima/Honda 1'35.938 1'36.799

Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi

Impul/Toyota 1'36.046 1'37.960

Japan Hiroki Otsu

Dandelion/Honda 1'36.305 1'39.605
5 Japan Naoki Yamamoto Nakajima/Honda 1'36.342 1'36.908

Japan Ryo Hirakawa

Impul/Toyota 1'36.388 1'36.800
7 Japan Ritomo Miyata TOM'S/Toyota 1'36.900 1'36.466
8 Japan Kenta Yamashita Kondo/Toyota 1'36.474 1'36.713

Japan Nirei Fukuzumi

Drago Corse/Honda 1'36.500 1'40.449

France Giuliano Alesi

TOM'S/Toyota 1'36.517 1'36.819

Japan Tomoki Nojiri

Mugen/Honda 1'36.604 1'39.498

Japan Yuji Kunimoto

KCMG/Toyota 1'36.704 1'37.234

Japan Ren Sato

Goh/Honda 1'36.709 1'39.987

Japan Kazuya Oshima

Rookie/Toyota 1'36.925 1'37.818

Japan Tadasuke Makino

Dandelion/Honda 1'37.316 1'36.980

France Sacha Fenestraz

Kondo/Toyota 1'38.863 1'37.037

Japan Atsushi Miyake

Goh/Honda 1'37.097 1'40.260

Japan Kamui Kobayashi

KCMG/Toyota 1'37.104 1'37.162

Japan Sena Sakaguchi

Inging/Toyota 1'37.946 1'37.135

Japan Nobuharu Matsushita

B-Max/Honda 1'37.301 1'38.009

Japan Ukyo Sasahara

Mugen/Honda 1'37.344 1'38.449

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