Second-placed Honda Endurance Racing team takes positive from Barcelona

24 Horas de Catalunya de Motociclismo – Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya

The Honda Endurance Racing team celebrates its 24 Hours of Catalunya podium after leading at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for most of the race.

After 24 hours of effort and tough racing with hot temperatures at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Honda Endurance Racing crossed the finish line in second position with a 9-lap gap.

The 24 Hours of Catalunya that were seen as a pre-Suzuka test for the team went well as Honda’s endurance specialists Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sébastien Gimbert managed to get the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP on the second step of the podium.

The team was leading the race for long hours until a little technical issue kept the CBR in the garage for a longer pit stop than expected in the early morning. When Sébastien Gimbert went back on track after twenty minutes working on the bike, the team was down in second position with a 10-lap gap to catch up. Honda’s endurance rider Sébastien Gimbert pushed hard to try to close the gap and even scored the fastest lap on track with a 1’48.515 lap time. But despite all the riders’ efforts, the team was unable to catch up with the leading team.

This 24-hour test race still offered the riders plenty of valuable track time and the data collected from this race will be of a great value for the team’s strategy for the rest of the season.

This positive result allows the Honda Endurance Racing team to confirm that the technical changes that were made on the bike since the Le Mans race were good and to gain a lot of confidence ahead of the Suzuka 8 Hours that takes place in two weeks time on 26 July.

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Neil Tuxworth

It’s been another difficult race for our team, but we’re very pleased to finish. We mainly used this race as a test, not as a race, we have many new items on the bike we wanted to try and also we are very pleased the bike has successfully finished. We did lose twenty minutes during the race with an unfortunate problem with our clutch, but that certainly wasn’t one of the parts we were testing. All the other items that we have built and made for Suzuka worked very well and also, because of the hot weather here it has been an exceptionally good test for the riders for the humidity and the heat before we go off to Japan. So all in all, I think it’s been a very successful event for our team.

Steven Casaer

This was more a test than a race obviously, but it was a good test. We came here to try the new bike with the new engine, so we did everything with one bike and one engine, including all the practice, so that was very good. We had obviously some issues because we were testing a lot of new things; we had some doubts so we were very preventive in the way we worked. We did some pit work more out of prevention than for actual trouble, so it was very interesting for us and hopefully it will give us a good starting point for the rest of the season.

Julien Da Costa

I am a bit disappointed because we had a few issues that made us lose some laps in the race, but the positive point is that the bike finished the 24-hour race and this was our main goal. Until now we had difficulties to finish a 24-hour race, so it is very encouraging. We still have a few more things to learn, but the team proved that the CBR is reliable and that little by little, we’re getting our old problems fixed, so we can say we are going in the right direction now.

Freddy Foray

We finished in second position so obviously we are competitors we would have preferred to finish first. I think that what we have to keep in mind is that we mainly came here to test things and to finish the race. In spite of everything, it is really great to finish a 24-hour race, it is a pity that we had a few issues that cost us the victory but now I think that we can be really confident ahead of the Bol d’Or.

Sébastien Gimbert

I really enjoyed racing on this circuit, I did the fastest lap on track during the race, so this was satisfying, but I would have liked to bring a victory to my team and my team-mates in addition to this lap record. What we have to keep in mind is the great work done during the whole weekend, and I think that it will be positive ahead of Suzuka as it allowed the whole team to get well prepared, so it is great that we went here for this test.

I am happy to be working with my team-mates Freddy and Julien, our relationship is really good, we laugh a lot together and it is very important & sometimes during a race we just stare at each other and we burst out laughing for no reason, it is a great boost for us all especially when we’re exhausted in the middle of the night.

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