Honda Endurance Racing ready to rock around the clock at Le Mans

Winter is finally over, and this weekend (20/21 April) the Circuit Bugatti in France hosts the second round of the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship: the legendary 24 Heures Motos. The Honda Endurance Racing team will see riders Randy de Puniet (FRA), Sébastien Gimbert (FRA), and Yonny Hernandez (COL) tackle the 24-hour event aboard the Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2. 

Half a year has passed by since the opening round of the championship, which took place last September with the Bol d’Or, and with a refreshed rider line-up for the second round of the series, the Honda squad are looking towards the podium where they finished second at last years race.

The Honda trio completed the official pre Le-Mans test at the 4.185km circuit at the start of April, where they gained vital data and worked through upgrades to the suspension, electronics, as well as working with Dunlop on new tyre compounds. After a successful test and evaluating all the data collected, the team and its riders are raring to get going with the first race of the 2019 calendar year.

The 24 Heures Motos takes place this weekend with the race starting Saturday (20 April) at 1500hrs local time (BST+1) and concludes on Sunday (21 April) at 1500hrs local time (BST+1).

For all the real time race updates and team news follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.

Randy de Puniet 111

Both, the pre-Le-Mans-test and the test day here on Tuesday went good considering the bad weather we’ve had on both occasions. We ended both sessions on top but of course this chapter now is closed, as the race weekend starts tomorrow. Luckily the forecast sees sunshine through to Sunday. Our Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 is ready and so are we. It is simply unbelievable it will be the 20th time Seb will be on the grid for the 24heures Moto du Mans and I am sure not only me but the whole team will give our everything to make him this event a one he will never forget. Of course we are aiming for victory but there is no strategy or planning in Endurance racing, we all have to give our best and then act accordingly to first make it to the finish line and then see where we end up.

Honda Endurance Racing

Sébastien Gimbert 111

For me it is a really important race, I wanted to stay one more year to finish my 20 years at Le Mans. This race is particular hard for me, because every lap I know it will be my last time going through here and I want to enjoy every moment. I have good teammates here, honestly, Randy and Yonny are very fast and for me it is the best solution for my last 24 heures Moto Le Mans. The times yesterday at the test were very good but the most important thing for me is how easy the bike is to ride. After 24 hours Bol d’Or last year I knew we have a chance and performance, now we have more performance – and I just hope for more luck this time round.

Honda Endurance Racing

Yonny Hernandez 111

After the first official test we were quite happy, because we were first in both sessions and I think we have very good feelings with the bike but now we have a lot of practice in the rain, as it was the same at the pre-test and now on Tuesday. For me this is good, because I normally have a good feeling in the rain. It was important to ride in the dry on Tuesday here, especially so we know how we are with this new bike and we tried a lot of new things. I think for the 24 hours it is important to have a constant rhythm because it is a really, really, really long race. I think all the team has a good feeling with the bike and it was good to end the tests on top. At the moment I don’t have any expectations. The weekend will start tomorrow and I don’t expect anything. 24 hours is a really long race – maybe you are first and have the best lap, but this is not important – the most important thing is to finish the race and that every rider has a good pace. I just focus on doing the best job I can and work hard with my team. I know we can do a good race and we focus on that and try to finish in a good position. It is incredible that Seb is doing his 20th start here in Le Mans, 20 races on 24 hours is a lot of experience and this is also good for us – both, Randy and Seb have a good experience in Endurance and that can be the important point for the championship this year.

Honda Endurance Racing

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

We have come here to win. As we are the official Honda Motor Europe team that’s what we are here for, and we have got the team and the bike behind us to do it. It has started off well and now it is just a question of making sure we have done all our checks and everything is prepared so we can achieve it. Last year’s Le Mans shows that we are good at this track in terms of the Fireblade and the technical equipment, as well as all the skills the team has – but equally all the rest of the teams do also. Obviously, the Bol d’Or, the first race in this season, didn’t end as we had hoped for with a DNF at the end – but we were leading the race and showed that we had the pace. We have to make sure now we get the final details worked out and go straight to the end and win at Le Mans. Seb on Saturday will start his 20th 24 hours of Le Mans – which is about 480 hours – absolutely amazing! And his first race here was on the 111 Honda, so it’s great for him and it is great for us to have him in the team. He is still so, so fast and his experience coming into it, just little details – it is just the years riding teaching him. I am happy to have him in the team.

Honda Endurance Racing

17 Apr 2019

24 Heures Motos

Circuit des 24 Heures, France

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