The final qualifying sessions for the 8-Hours of Doha took place on Friday evening at the Losail international Circuit in Doha, Qatar, with the stand in Honda TT Legends team taking eight place on the grid for Saturday’s race.
In the sweltering Qatar heat, conditions were testing for the new rider line-up of Michael Laverty, Jason O’Halloran and Ryuichi Kiyonari, deputising for those away on duty at their namesake event, the Isle of Man TT. Small improvements were made in each session by all riders and despite the Rider 2 times (Michael Laverty) in Qualifying Practice 2 being declared void due to a timing error – the net result was a solid eighth position on the starting grid, putting the Honda TT Legends team in an ideal position to make further improvements during the race on Saturday as they continue to find more speed from the 2012 ABS-equipped CBR1000RR Fireblade. The three-rider race line-up will be announced following Saturday’s warm-up session. We would also like to welcome another member to the Honda Racing family. A new baby girl named Senna Kiyonari came into this world whilst her father Ryuichi was out on track in his second Qualifying session.
Congratulations to the whole family! Russell Benney, Team Manager I think we are just about where we want to be and two riders have actually gone a bit beyond expectations, dipping into the 2:02s in Qualifying. I think we can maintain a strong race pace of 2:03s or 2:04s and that should historically put us in the top-five, from there we can challenge for a podium which is our overall aim. Kiyo is markedly relieved after the safe arrival of his new daughter so we think that may clear his mind a little and hopefully bring a little more speed from him. Michael Laverty We put in the soft race tyre at the end and I was pushing to hard to try and get the time. I was getting frustrated and missing a lot of apexes. I posted two mid 2:02s but they weren’t quite perfect and I knew I could go faster. On the last lap I was nailing everything and was thinking it was a good one but coming through the last section of the lap, the triple rights, I was just pushing a bit too hard and lost the front on the kerbs.
You’re supposed to stay upright in Endurance but it was impressive watching the team work so quickly to repair the bike. It seems my times did not count for anything anyway but it is good to know I can do 2:02. Ryuichi Kiyonari It was difficult today and yesterday really. I think I can definitely improve but I am having problems with seeing in the dark. I have been trying to acclimatise my eyes but I have not found a comfort zone. I have had this problem before at Suzuki and I am trying to work through it again here. I am very happy and relieved that my new baby girl was delivered without any issue. I can’t wait to get back and see her but I have a job to do here first. Jason O’Halloran We took another step forward as we have become more familiar with the circuit and the bike. We put a soft tyre in at the end there and I haven’t had too much time on it so didn’t use it to its full potential and think I could have actually gone a bit faster. I am happy with how I am riding and happy with how well the team is working, so big thanks to them for giving me a great bike. Was amazing to see them fix it in 10mins after Michael’s off for me to get out there and I think we are in a good position to start the race.
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