The team has arrived at the Slovakian track with a test session on Tuesday successfully helped in the preparations for the race on Saturday. The event itself will be a FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) double header with the four wheeled series of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCR). Honda is the only manufacturer to field machinery in both series.
Randy de Puniet, Sébastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernandez took a hard fought second place aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 at the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans just two weeks ago and had not much of a rest prior the third round of the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship.
The team’s target is the upper step of the podium to gain some more spots in the World Championship standings. The #111 Honda currently holds on to fifth place, having earned a total of 60 points so far. The leaders are only 42 points ahead with three more races to go, so the 2018/2019 World Championship is everything but decided.
Tuesday saw the Honda Endurance Racing team taking part in a test at the Slovakia Ring with de Puniet, Gimbert and Hernandez working hard to gain the proper set-up to the Fireblade for the weekend. Thursday will see the Free Practice with both Qualifying session’s for all riders to follow in the afternoon. This time there will be no night practice and no track action on Friday.
The 8 hours of Slovakia will start on Saturday, 11thof May 2019, at 12:00 Local Time noon with the chequered flag being waved eight hours later at 20:00 (BST +1).
Randy de Puniet 111
The expectation is to fight for the victory after we had a really good race in the 24. The feeling is quite okay. We had some issues during the test with two crashes, so we do have some work to do ahead of the weekend. We don’t know why, many guys crashed in turn four and seven and for me it was a really hard crash but fortunately we are all together fine. The feeling is quite good and all riders have a good pace, so now we try to improve the bike to find the best tyre for the race and that’s it. Maybe we try to push a little bit more to improve the lap time but already we are on a good pace.
Sébastien Gimbert 111
After Le Mans, for sure, I now want to win, because now I know it is possible. My team is very fast and the Fireblade is very fast! For sure it is possible to win here. Me, I like the Slovakia ring, because this circuit is more technical and it suits a lot to my riding style with all the hills, you have fast corners and you slide a lot and you have got heavy braking. I am feeling confident on this circuit. Yesterday morning I had a crash on a very fast left hander – and this comes because here are only three or four left corners and all the others are going right. Now we just need to see which weather we will have those coming days as the forecast is promising very mixed conditions.
Yonny Hernandez 111
It is my first time at the Slovakia ring and I like the track. It is really fast and I did feel very comfortable with the bike at our test session on Tuesday. We tried a lot with the Fireblade to make it faster and I think we can be strong for the weekend and for the race. Lets see what we can do in Qualifying. At the moment we don’t know where we stand in comparison to the other teams as there was no time keeping on Tuesday but I think we are quite good. I for myself feel okay.
It feels like we were in Le Mans yesterday. The guys have done a great job to turn everything round and get everything here, so not much time to have a stop. The first day of practice went well. The guys did put in some great times straight off and we started adjusting the settings. It is a lot of right handers here and not so many lefts, so it is about getting some confidence on the cold side of the tyre and that’s we are working on. Séb and Randy crashed in the same corner, same problem: it was a bit cold and we are working on that. We seem to have got to the end of the days to put in good times and just built some more confidence on the bikes, so, yeah, it is a good place and we are looking forward to the transponders going on the bikes and see in reality were we are in the rest of the field.