Home News Ryo Hirakawa fastest in Super Formula free practice at Motegi

Ryo Hirakawa fastest in Super Formula free practice at Motegi

by Ida Wood

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Ryo Hirakawa’s morning benchmark stood as the fastest time over Super Formula’s two Saturday free practice sessions at Twin Ring Motegi.

The fastest laps in that first session came quickly, with many drivers actually failing to improve on their early flying laps.

Each of the top four drivers set their best times on one of their first ‘qualifying’ laps, while KCMG’s Kamui Kobayashi in fifth place was one of a rare few who were at their fastest at the end of the session.

This was a stark difference to the afternoon’s running, where laptimes gradually dropped before everyone visited the pits in the closing minutes and returned to track for two flying laps on the soft compound tyre.

TOM’S driver Kazuki Nakajima sat in first place until the chequered flag, when Nakajima Racing’s Tadasuke Makino put in the best final sector of anyone to narrowly claim first place.

He was immediately followed by several drivers setting personal bests, before his Nakajima team-mate and debutant Toshiki Oyu put in the fastest sector one and two splits of anyone to go fastest of the session.

Two-time champion Naoki Yamamoto was then able to split the pair despite not being fastest in any sectors, while Nakajima’s earlier time was good enough for fourth.

Hirakawa was one of the last across the line to go fifth, but the Team Impul driver was almost four tenths slower than what he had set in the morning. Kondo Racing’s Kenta Yamashita also left it late to improve but relied on his session one time to be second overall.

Oyu and Yamamoto slipped into third and fourth place in the combined classification, with Nakajima completing the top five based on its slightly faster morning lap.

ThreeBond Racing with Drago Corse rookie Tatiana Calderon adapted well in FP1 but only completed three laps in FP2, while Team Mugen and B-MAX Racing with Motopark’s inexperienced stand-ins Ukyo Sasahara and Teppei Natori improved significantly as the day went on.


Free practice results
Pos Driver Team FP1 FP2 Gap
1 Ryo Hirakawa Team Impul 1m32.483s 1m32.871s
2 Kenta Yamashita Kondo Racing 1m32.602s 1m33.242s +0.119s
3 Toshiki Oyu Nakajima Racing 1m32.977s 1m32.703s +0.220s
4 Naoki Yamamoto Dandelion Racing 1m32.973s 1m32.753s +0.270s
5 Kazuki Nakajima TOM’S 1m32.778s 1m32.854s +0.295s
6 Hiroaki Ishiura INGING 1m32.792s 1m33.213s +0.309s
7 Tadasuke Makino Nakajima Racing 1m33.746s 1m32.813s +0.330s
8 Kamui Kobayashi KCMG 1m32.814s 1m34.001s +0.331s
9 Nirei Fukuzumi Dandelion Racing 1m33.026s 1m32.876s +0.393s
10 Sho Tsuboi INGING 1m32.898s 1m33.034s +0.415s
11 Sacha Fenestraz Kondo Racing 1m32.997s 1m33.221s +0.514s
12 Yuhi Sekiguchi Team Impul 1m33.002s 1m33.175s +0.519s
13 Ukyo Sasahara Team Mugen 1m34.850s 1m33.383s +0.900s
14 Tomoki Nojiri Team Mugen 1m34.536s 1m33.437s +0.954s
15 Nick Cassidy TOM’S 1m33.549s 1m33.582s +1.066s
16 Kazuya Oshima ROOKIE Racing 1m33.580s 1m33.967s +1.097s
17 Yuji Kunimoto KCMG 1m33.625s 1m33.898s +1.142s
18 Teppei Natori B-MAX Racing w/ Motopark 1m34.704s 1m34.051s +1.568s
19 Tatiana Calderon ThreeBond w/ Drago Corse 1m34.154s 1m36.173s +1.671s