This is what NOT to do in front of your bosses 4mins into an 8-hour race...

WATCH the wild clash just four minutes into the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours between two Honda hopefuls... at Honda's home circuit... in front of the Honda bosses

Suzuka 8 Hours, Honda, Kousuke Sakumoto

They say the biggest sin you can make in motorsport is to collide with your team-mate…

Racing is racing no matter, even if they wear the same colour leathers, but as a general rule of thumb it isn’t wise to ruin the race of someone you have to see again later looking stoney-faced a few feet away in the same garage.

Nor is it ideal to commit such a calamity in full view of the sport’s most influential industry bosses… or at the circuit owned by said bosses… or when you’re running in a strong top five position… or on Lap 2 of a 214 Lap race… or before you’ve given your team-mates, who have spent weeks preparing themselves for this event, get a chance to race. 

OK, so there’s a lot going on there and, frankly, you’d have to be pretty unfortunate to suffer that full house of faux pas’.

So spare a thought for Kosuke Sakumoto, who apparently saw ALL the black cats on his way to the circuit on Sunday morning ahead of the Suzuka 8 Hours, after he rather spectacularly ticked off pretty much everything on motorsport’s ‘Not To Do…’ list.

Competing as one-third of the Astemo Honda Dream Racing team alongside Kazuma Watanabe and Taiga Haneda, Sakumoto - a front runner in the Japanese Superbike Championship - was given the honour of starting the endurance classic after the trio qualified seventh on the 45-bike grid as the second highest-placed national entry among the world’s best.

Getting away well to end the first lap in fifth position, right behind the highest-placed Japanese team and Honda stablemates SDG Racing - featuring Naomichi Uramoto, Teppei Nagoshi and Ikuhiro Enokido - things were looking good with 7 hours 58mins on the clock remaining.

At least, they were until mid-way round lap two when Sakumoto lost control of his Fireblade on the run towards the Spoon Curve. While he was fortunate to detach from the bike as they slid up the track at high-speed, his Honda-turned-missile proceeded to torpedo the completely unawares Uramoto on the SDG entry just ahead.

Smacking into the rear-quarter of the Honda - mercifully just inches away from the squishier human stuff to the left of the impact - a shocked Uramoto was flung into a frightening airborne pirouette before hitting the ground as both bikes buried themselves into the air fence.

Lucky not to collect the leading trio of HRC Honda, KRT Kawasaki and FCC TSR Honda just metres ahead, the incident put both heavily damaged bikes out on the spot.

A contrite Sakumoto has since taken to Instagram to apologise profusely to the SDG team, his Astemo team - both of which were tipped for podium challenges - his team-mates, Honda, the higher powers he apparently wrong in some way… frankly, we really feel for the guy. He had a shocker.

In his defence, accidents do of course not only happen, they happen to the very best as Jonathan Rea - for the second Suzuka 8 Hours in a row - proved by finding the floor on race day.

On the plus side, this time it wasn’t three minutes from the end, though on the downside instead of oil being the culprit, this was the Ulsterman’s own doing as his rather ragged attempts to make up ground on eventual winners HRC Honda led to this clumsy mix-up with a backmarker…