Following a quick stop in Paris for a press conference hosted by new sponsor Motul, the Honda TT Legends team arrived at Magny Cours yesterday for the opening round of the 2012 Endurance World Championship. The Bol d’Or will take place at the French circuit on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 April with the team contesting aboard the 20th anniversary, ABS-equipped Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
The legendary 24-hour race was the Honda TT Legends’ EWC debut during its rookie season in 2011. The team impressed with a fifth place finish and went on to secure two further fifth places at the Le Mans 24-hour and the 8-hours of Doha, eventually ending the season in seventh overall.
For 2012, the team returns with a full year of development under its belt and while the challenge that lies ahead cannot be underestimated, the clear aim is to finish on the podium. 2011 riders John McGuiness and Cameron Donald will be joined at the Bol d’Or by Honda TT Legends newcomers Simon Andrews and Gary Johnson.
Neil Tuxworth – Team Manager
We have a year of development and racing experience that we didn’t have this time last year and we’ve also completed a successful pre-season testing campaign. This means we have much more data and information on the circuit and we are able to start the season in a stronger position with a proven set up for machine. We also now have a fully developed ABS-system, which was in its infancy last season. All this along with the new rider line up will hopefully give us the chance to challenge for the podium at the majority of EWC events this year.
I feel much more confident than this time last year. I am still nervous without a doubt and I’m far from being an experienced endurance rider, but at least I know what lies ahead and just how hard it’s going to be. This is one of the most difficult races of the season and the competition is tough. Having said that, we are in a stronger position now with the bike and the team and hopefully we can build on the work we did last year to improve and get near the podium.
Although I was here with team last year I came as reserve rider and didn’t get to race so I saw it all from the sidelines. I’m so excited to be back again this year and to have the chance to get out there on track and be in the action. It’s a legendary event and I can’t wait to take part. The test we did a couple of weeks ago went really well, I felt good on the bike and our times were on pace. I’m just going to get my head down and work hard and hopefully we can be challenging in the top three.
I’m feeling excited but apprehensive about the race. I have never done an endurance race before and the test was the first time I’ve ridden this track. It is always difficult doing something you’ve never done before and there is no doubt that it is going to be tough, but I am really looking forward it. We’ve got a good few days of practice and qualifying ahead and I think once I’ve got that under my belt, I’ll be feeling less nervous and ready to race.
After some good testing here a couple of weeks ago and a long off-season of rehab and physio on my leg, I’m really ready to get back on the bike. I’m looking forward to seeing how we get on pitched against some of the top teams in endurance. I’ve done an 8-hour endurance race before but never a 24-hour. I’m sure it’s going to be tough but I feel confident that we have a good team behind us and I think we can get out there and be competitive.
Follow the Bol d’Or live on Motors TV or FIM-TV.com on Saturday 14 April from 10.20 to 11.30 and 14.30 to 22.00 and Sunday 15 April from 10.30 to 15.30. Live timing will be available on FIM-LIVE.com from 14.30 on Saturday 14 April.
For news, videos and images throughout the event follow @HondaTTLegends on Twitter, bookmark www.HondaTTLegends.com and subscribe to HondaProRacing on YouTube
2012 Bol d’Or schedule
Thursday 12 April
12.00 – 14.30 Free practice
16.45 – 19.15 First qualifying (30 minutes per rider)
21.15 – 22.15 Night practice
Friday 13 April
10.40 – 13.10 Second qualifying (30 minutes per rider)
Saturday 14 April
10.30 – 11.15 Warm-up
15.00 Race begins
Sunday 15 April
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The 76th annual Bol d’Or began today with 55 teams taking to the Magny Cours circuit in France for the first of two qualifying sessions. The combined times of the Honda TT Legends riders sees the team in 11th place on the provisional grid for the opening race of the 2012 Endurance World Championship. After...
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