Yamaha MotoGP stars Rossi/Lorenzo won't enter 2015 Suzuka 8 hours

Yamaha has ended speculation that factory MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo could contest the Suzuka 8 Hours by entering Tech 3's Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro for it

Yamaha MotoGP stars Rossi/Lorenzo won't enter 2015 Suzuka 8 hours

Although MotoGP riders now rarely contest the classic Japanese endurance event, its profile has increased again this year due to Casey Stoner picking Suzuka for his competitive comeback with Honda, three years after his shock retirement.

That led to suggestions that Yamaha wanted Rossi - who contested the 8 Hours in 2000 and '01 with Honda - and Lorenzo to race at Suzuka, but both had distanced themselves from that prospect.

On Monday Yamaha announced that Smith and Espargaro, riders for its satellite Tech3 team in MotoGP, would join four-time Japanese champion and occasional MotoGP stand-in rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga on a works YZF-R1 instead.

"Firstly, I want to give Yamaha a massive thank you for considering me to be part of their Suzuka 8 Hour team, which is a legendary event," said Smith.

"I'm looking forward to trying a new form of motorcycle racing and even more so along with my team-mate Pol and Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who has a strong record at this special race.

"It will be an unforgettable event and it will add another chapter to my life with Yamaha."

Rossi said when the Suzuka possibility was first mooted that while he liked the idea of teaming up with Lorenzo for an enduro, he was not keen on Suzuka - which falls in the gap between MotoGP's German and Indianapolis Grands Prix.

"I would like so much to race together with Jorge, it could be very interesting and fun," said Rossi in April.

"I did [Suzuka] in 2000 and 2001 and it was a great, great effort because you have to fly to Japan two or three times and also the race is very hard.

"I think for this year it's difficult, but maybe in the future it can happen."

Lorenzo agreed with his team-mate that such a project might be better after their MotoGP careers had wound down.

"I think at the moment it's quite risky to do this race, going there in the holidays with the risk of injury," he said. "Maybe in the future."

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