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31 July 2016 - FIM EWC 2016 Drama at the Suzuka 8 Hours for Honda Endurance Racing Suzuka 8 Hours

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:18 pm
by totalmotorcycle
31 July 2016 - #FIM #EWC 2016 Drama at the $Suzuka 8 Hours for Honda Endurance #Racing @Suzuka 8 Hours
Suzuka Circuit, Japan

Today the 39th “Coca-Cola Zero” Suzuka 8 Hours got underway at 11.30am local time at Honda’s home circuit, Suzuka in Japan. The Honda Endurance Racing team started the historic event from 24th place on the grid after a mixed start to the weekend.
Freddy Foray started the race for the team aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP and got to work quickly moving up through the field. As Foray came in for the team’s first pit stop Honda’s endurance specialists were sitting in 16th place.
Next out for the squad was Julien Da Costa, who also quickly got to work moving the Fireblade through the pack and by the second pit stop the team were tenth. Sebastien Gimbert was out next and as his team-mates before, he masterfully guided the CBR round the Suzuka circuit, getting into the top-ten in eighth place.
As the eight hours continued the riders all pushed hard and thanks to the super slick Honda Endurance Racing crew, they enjoyed speedy pit stops. It was looking hopeful for the Honda squad as with just an hour left they were comfortably sitting in eighth place, but then disaster struck when Da Costa came in from his final stint and after the routine final pit checks an oil leak was discovered.
Returning to the garage the Honda crew got to work to identify the problem and minutes seemed like hours as the team worked hard to identify the problem. A fault in the oil hose created a small leak and the team worked to get this fixed and got Gimbert aboard the bike and he set off to finish the race.
With the time in the box and an unfortunate stop and go penalty for pit lane speeding the Honda Endurance Racing team dropped back into 14th place. However, Gimbert pushed on and after eight hours racing and 204 laps completed the team crossed the line in 13th position.
The result sees the squad seventh in the Endurance World Championship standings; they were the fifth placed Honda team overall in the race and were the third-placed EWC permanent team to finish.
The Honda Endurance Racing team will now prepare for the fourth round of the Endurance World Championship, the Oschersleban 8 hours, which takes place on 27 August.

Freddy Foray 111
It is a shame to finish 13th as it’s been a lot of hard work and we were looking good for a top-ten finish, if we had finished there we could have scored better points towards the championship, but you know this is racing and endurance. Overall I am happy as the result is not so bad, we have some points and to get into the top-ten after our start position is positive. The team worked really hard to improve our times and I’m happy with how the race went. We pushed hard and we did the job it was just a shame to have that problem in the last hour, but we had a problem and so did a lot of the other permanent EWC teams so overall we’re not in a bad position. We now need to put our heads together and be ready to come back in a few weeks in Germany.
- Honda Endurance Racing

Julien Da Costa 111
Our finish in 13th is not so bad, we had a problem and perhaps without we would have finished in the top-ten, but you know anything can happen in racing. On the track we performance a lot better than in the week, we found a good setting on the CBR in warm up this morning and improved our lap times. It was a very tough race as it was very hot and we had to push hard to make our way through the riders. We have to keep fighting and also anything can happen at the next round, so we have this to look forward to and hope we can have a good result there.
- Honda Endurance Racing

Sébastien Gimbert 111
It has been a difficult race and was hard for me, as I have been suffering with some ligament problems in my arm. For me the stints were hard and long, but I pushed hard and I am happy for my team-mates, my team, for Honda and our sponsors - this result is good! We are walking away with points for the championship and we have progressed from where we were yesterday. It’s not been an easy weekend but starting 24th and finishing 13th is not so bad, of course to finish in the top-ten would have been the dream, but today it was not meant to be. We will now refocus and be ready for Oschersleban!
- Honda Endurance Racing

Jonny Twelvetrees
Assistant team manager
Well overall we played the Suzuka 8 Hours how we set out to: let the race come to us and the guys rode well and consistent and we were slowly working our way up the order. We started 24th and in the final stages were eighth so you can’t complain too much about that. Just in the final hour at the last pit stop the crew did their standard checks, found the oil level was low, so we had to get the CBR in the garage to find the cause. We found a small leak due to a fault with the oil hose and the guys fixed the problem quickly and got Sebastien out to finish the race. We were then struck with a stop and go penalty for speeding in pit lane, so that set us down the order again. The result from today puts us seventh in the EWC standings, which is a position back from where we were, but there are not that many points separating us from the top spot, so we now need to throw all we have at Oschersleban in a few weeks time. A huge thanks to the riders and also to the crew for all their hard work, today it was just not meant to be.
- Honda Endurance Racing