Suzuka 8 Hours – Suzuka
The Honda Endurance Racing team finished the Suzuka 8 Hours this evening in the top-ten, after placing the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP seventh at the 5.821km Honda-owned Suzuka circuit.
After completing 201-laps and after eight hours of racing in extreme temperatures, Honda’s Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sébastien crossed finish line the seventh with a three-lap gap and were one of three permanent EWC teams to finish in the top-ten.
The race got underway at 11:30am (GMT+9) on Sunday with Gimbert, starting the race from 20th position. A good start saw the Honda squad quickly move into the top-15.
Honda’s endurance specialists Da Costa, Foray and Gimbert pushed hard and made up positions throughout the eight hours and at the halfway point of the race the team were in 11th position.
Due to incidents on track the safety car was brought out on numerous occasions during the race and Honda’s riders pushed continuously to make up places and eventually crossed the line seventh, collecting 14 valuable points towards the championship.
The next Endurance World Championship round is the Oschersleben 8 Hours, which takes place on 22 July, in Germany.
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To finish Suzuka in the top-ten is good news and it’s positive for all the riders and the team. I feel we could have been a little stronger than we were, but due to circumstances we weren’t in control of with the safety car deployments, to finish seventh is very positive. We will now look forward to the next round in Germany.
The race was good for us, the CBR worked well in the extreme conditions and the riders pushed hard throughout the race so that was all positive. Unfortunately we did lose a bit of time during the safety car outings and without them we could have pushed for a higher placing – it’s a pity for the championship but we are happy that we finished the race in seventh position. The crew produced good and quick pitstops, probably the best we have ever had during a race, and so we didn’t lose too much there.
Julien Da Costa
To finish the race seventh after starting from 20th position on the grid is very satisfactory. We were all really happy with the Fireblade and our fuel consumption was better than our competitors. We fought for the top-five at some stages of the race so this is something positive from a performance point of view and something to take to the next EWC round.
We were aiming at a top-ten finish so I think the seventh position is a good result. We were quickly in the top-ten during the race and I think we could have done even better but the safety car was deployed several times during the race, and it made us lose opportunities to finish in the top-five. The team did a great job with pit stops and the bike had excellent fuel consumption, it was a perfect team job today. It is a shame that we could not manage to get the place of first permanent team but all in all it’s very positive!
Today is a positive result for the team, we have come from a 24-hour race to an 8-hour race within two weeks and both are very physically demanding. The conditions in Suzuka are extreme and we all managed to deal with the heat very well. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to push for a higher placing due the safety car outings, but that’s racing and we’re happy to be in the top-ten in seventh place. Now we have a lot of important data and information that will be useful to get ready for Oschersleben – Suzuka is over but we still have to work ahead of the next race to continue to improve on our performance.
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